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You say potato, I say poh-tah-toe. You say tomato, I say... SHARK!!!

Who's afraid of a big bad shark...
Copyright©2008 sandiego.com, Inc.

Anyone who has eyes, ears, or half a brain, has heard of the recent Great White shark attack off the coast of Solana Beach last week. The shark is reported to have been roughly 15-16ft. in length.

Almost immediately after the attack was televised around the nation, I received a call from my wife. Before I even had a chance to say "hey babe", she said "Tell me you’re not going surfing today" – Pause – "you’re not going surfing today, are you". Honestly, prior to her asking me about it, I was thinking about going surfing that day.

Shortly after the call from my wife, I received a call from my mother back in Illinois. My mother’s first comment was "are you alright dear?" Mom automatically assumes that if anything bad happens in California, it happened to me.

Almost everyone I saw throughout the day that the shark attack happened had pretty much the same question, "Did you hear about the shark attack?"

One comment I heard that particularly caught me off guard was from a girl in Pacific Beach. She said to a friend next to her "I can’t believe a shark would do that to a person. What did that guy do to deserve that?" My first thought was that this girl had been forcefully dropped as a child and was experiencing some sort of mental retardation. My second thought was… well, it was the same as the first. Was this girl serious?

I won’t lie to you, it freaked me out! I wasn’t freaked out about the fact that a shark attack had happened, rather the fact that people were surprised it happened.

Shark attacks on the west coast are pretty rare. In fact, according to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), there have only been 44 shark attacks off of the coast of California since 1990. Out of those 43 attacks, only 3 have been fatal. Take a moment and considering the millions of people that swim at San Diego beaches each year. With this in mind, I would say your chances of getting hit by seagull poop, hit up for change by a bum, or fatally hit by a drunk driver are much greater.

Today, as I started writing this, I heard about another fatal shark attack in Acapulco, Mexico. This was an attack by a grey shark that left a 15 inch wound on the man’s right thigh. The victim, from San Francisco, was surfing with another buddy of his from San Francisco. These are truly tragic happenings, but they are a potential reality that everyone who enters the ocean should understand.

"What was that, who's there"
Copyright©2008 sandiego.com, Inc.

We voluntarily swim and play in the sharks’ home and the shark is a natural predator. No matter where you are in the world, if you enter the ocean, you are essentially signing a waiver that states "I understand there may be living creatures in this body of water that could potentially find me tasty".

A few years ago, I was getting ready to go out to surf in Maui. I asked a local guy standing on the beach "Are there any sharks out here?" His response, one that I now use any time I get the same question, was "If you stick your finger in the water and it tastes like salt, there is a good chance there are sharks".

Could a shark attack happen to me? Yes, it is possible. However, the chances of you being bitten, or even killed, by a shark are about as likely as you winning the lottery. Someone that just read that got even more frightened of the ocean and more excited about winning the lottery. Forget it buddy, you’re never going to win the lottery.

The simple fact of this whole article is this: No matter what you do in life, there is a risk associated with it. Do not let those potential risks hold you back from the rewards you could gain from taking the risk. Live life to its fullest and you will never die disappointed.


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  • City: San Diego