a surfer was bitten by what is believed to have been a large white shark just north of Monterey. He sustained moderate injuries to his arm and neck and the shark tore a 19-inch chunk from his board."
Today I added a rather crusty quote (according to a long time friend) for Grind TV and Peter Thomas's article on a surf contest in San Francisco.
Top notch surfers from around the world are gathered in SF this week to compete off Ocean Beach in the shadow of the Farallon Islands and in the territory of the white shark.
Does this make any sense to me as a commercial shark diving CEO?
No it does not.
If Kelly Slater thinks it's o.k to surf at the peak of white shark season off the California coast that's Kelly's decision. Having the major media on site, 100-200 fans on the shoreline, and an actual sighting of a white shark fin during the competition is a recipe for a disaster not of a white sharks making.
Fact is there's a whole lot of good folks worldwide, including many surfers, who are trying to change perceptions about the white sharks away from the 1970's JAWS stereotypes and into a broader understanding. Why would we want to set up a white shark at the peak of the habitual shark season with a man made media frenzy "if" a top rated surfer was to have a negative interaction with a white?
I am a huge fan of Kelly Slater by the way and not singling him out, rather I believe that competitions like these and the promoters who set them up are the responsible parties, or should be.
The white sharks off the California coasts are survivors, the few and last of their kind and I believe we should defer to them more often then we do. Every attack resonates around the world, every bitten board sends an unmistakable message, and in every instance the shark is not at fault, we are.
Is it about time to give the white sharks of California their due? Or are big dollar surf contests ruled by chance encounters and the hope that wildlife will not mistake the participants?
I think we can do better. In fact I know we can, all crusty quotes aside.
Patric Douglas CEO