21 June 2015

Surfing with Sharks

Last night, after I'd loaded my Mazda 3 for an early departure to (almost) dawn patrol at San Onofre with Tracey and Chris, I saw this on my Twitter feed:
JonXtensen: In the water at San-o w/ @traceykthompson and @greacen and a helicopter flies over and on the loud speaker: "MULTIPLE GREAT WHITE SHARKS" 
youlooksofine: @JonXtensen @traceykthompson @greacen Everyone safe on dry land??? not to imply dry land is actually safer
JonXtensen: @traceykthompson @greacen yeah. I caught a wave out immediately while they risked life and limb another 5 minutes. 
traceykthompson: @JonXtensen @youlooksofine @greacen a piece of kelp bumped my leg and I totally screamed ;) 
So I said:
surfergrrrl: @traceykthompson @JonXtensen @youlooksofine @greacen I'm sure they'll all be gone by the time I get there tomorrow. 
traceykthompson: @surfergrrrl @JonXtensen @youlooksofine @greacen I bet the helicopter scared them off 
surfergrrrl: @traceykthompson Or your scream.
Coincidentally, I'd made another infrequent perusal of Pacific Coast Shark News earlier in the day and it seems the Men in Gray Suits like to hang out near Trail #1 at San O. But my friends from NorCal, who I hadn't seen in a few years, were camping near Trail #6. And anyway, there are always sharks in the ocean, right? Besides, I'd already packed the car.

After driving nearly an hour north, I paid $15 (!) to park at the campground in a day use lot that was deserted – except for a bunny!
I hadn't seen a bush rabbit in a while either. It made me miss surfing at the state beaches in Half Moon Bay, especially Dunes, which I'd nicknamed Bunnies.

Chris filled me in on the shark story. Yesterday afternoon at "shark o'clock" several surfers reported seeing fins in the water – although he noted there were a lot of dolphins around – and then the helicopter spotted them too. We decided to say no more about that, picked up our boards and hiked down the goat trail to the beach.
I'd never surfed Trails before and was surprised that the break was uncrowded, almost completely empty, on a summer weekend. The waves were closing out a fair bit on the very low tide, but they were bigger and better that the past week at my home break. It was nice to catch up with my friends as we waited for sets. Although Tracey and Chris caught more waves on their longboards than I did on my 6'2", I rode a bunch of fun and long chest-high rights and lefts. Woot!
Between sets, I caught a whiff of the gist of a conversation between Chris and one of the few other guys near us, sensed it had something to do with sharks, and deliberately tuned them out.

After almost two hours, Tracey rode a wave in, soon followed by Chris, and I made sure I wasn't far behind. I didn't want to be the straggler that got culled from the herd. Back on the beach, Chris related that the other guy had seen a fin heading quickly out to sea. Yeah, for sure I did not want to know that.

Post-surf Twitter convo:
@surfergrrrl: Fun surf with @traceykthompson and @greacen. And no one got eaten! #sharks #SanO 
@traceykthompson: Down to one fin sighting per session! :) 

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