I have a friend who lives in South Africa. He ends all his e-mails with the statement: Every wall a door and don’t say shark. It’s a mix of local folklore from the group of laborer/friends he surfs with, mixed with a bit of his own philosophy. Apparently surfing in a community known for having more than it’s fair share of shark attacks will inspire a bit of mysticism between surfers. He believes it’s all part of the balance that keeps South Africa’s coast so wild.
I mention this because we’ve had more conversations about sharks the past few weeks than I can remember. And since I was in third grade — as most kids are I’m sure — I have been obsessed with sharks. In the most nerdy way. It was borderline obsessive. Once, when I was 8, I sat down with a pencil and paper and wrote 15 pages off the top of my head on everything knew about sharks. There was no assignment for this. I just needed to let it out. This is not the climax of the story I promise.
Last week Dane Reynolds came by and we were talking about spots for a couple upcoming surf trips. A location was thrown out that Dane immediately doubted, “Can you even surf there and not get attacked by a shark?” No one really knew. It was sharky as fuck. (Continued after the jump.)
“Ummm, well not on the side of the island we’re on…” Kai vaguely said.
“I don’t really mind surfing where there might be great white sharks,” Dane said. “They only eat like once a month and the ones that attack humans sound like they are renegades or something is off with them. The chances are lower for sure. But bull sharks, those are the ones I have trouble with. They’ll bite and mess you up for no reason and they’re always eating.”
Courtney wasn’t a fan of sending Dane to the bull shark captial of the world either. She sat there dramatically shaking her head, drawing on our whiteboard.
Brendon Gibbens recently told me the theory he and his buddies have about sharks too: (Where Brendon surfs in South Africa may be one of the spookiest looking places for sharks ever): “There are so many stories,” he said. “But you can’t talk about them. No one does. You don’t say shark. You just hope they’re just that: stories. You can’t go there in your mind.”
Owen Wright has a similar theory: “I have this thing with sharks where I used to freak out, but now, I know if I see one I just get out. Or…your time’s up.”
Ok, maybe we should stop talking about this now. Let’s go surfing.
Every wall a door and don’t say shark,