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San Diego Shark Attack Aftershocks

solana beach shark attackThe number of surfers and swimmers scattered throughout line-ups all over north San Diego is an awesome sign that the healing process following the tragic shark attack on Dr. David Martin has begun. It’s understandable that tight-knit beach cities like Solana Beach and Cardiff would be hit hard by the first fatal shark attack in 50 years. This is new for a lot of people in the area, most of which make the ocean a regular part of their lives.

Although many are returning to the water, it’s still quite obvious that the attack is at the forefront of people’s minds. Everywhere I go it seems to be what people want to talk about and it has even reached a point where many lifeguards, policeman, and many of our other public servants are spending a good portion of their days responding to ‘possible shark-sightings.’

As my cousin Mike and I made our way up to the steps of our local break for an afternoon session yesterday, we were surprised to see the flashing lights of a police car parked directly in front of the entrance. Earlier in the morning we had paddled out and surfed among a huge group of meandering dolphins, so at this moment I had a pretty good idea what this was all about. The officer on the steps gripping a pair of binoculars confirmed my thought, as did the lifeguard trucks parked below on the sand. Apparently a resident in one of the cliff-side homes “swore” he saw a shark and the troops were called in. The officer seemed annoyed and informed me they have been responding to similar calls time and time again.

Mike and I chatted with the officer for a bit, watched the dolphins play around in the waves, and decided to follow suit and make our way into the water. We even got a “be careful out there” from an older chap who walked down to see what all of the commotion was about.

Sitting in the water I began to wonder what our fascination is with sharks and shark attacks? In the USA between 1959 and 2007, an average of 39.7 people were killed by lighting each year. For the same time span, human fatalities caused by sharks averaged 0.48. Yet I’m not sure there is anything like this type of reaction each time a thunderstorm could possibly be in the area. Is it the media (myself included) that perpetuates this type of response and interest? Or is it that most of us know very little about sharks and it becomes it is natural for us to have a fear of the unknown? Whatever it is, it seems that there are few things that capture the interest and attention of the masses the way that sharks and shark attacks do.


Posted by Shaun on Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 in Surfing.

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2 Responses to “San Diego Shark Attack Aftershocks”

  • David Says:

    Fascination? There’s little to do with fascination. It’s more a subconscious fear. Between getting hit by lightening or flipping in a car accident at 70 MPH, if you’re a waterperson, absolutely nothing compares to getting eaten alive by a monster fish.

  • Ron Says:

    When people talk about shark attack statistics, I always want it adjusted against the number of people that actually surf. My odds of being struck by lightening is infentesimally small since lightening doesn’t touch down in my area, but regularly does in areas in the midwest. Conversely, people that don’t go in the ocean have a 0% chance of shark attack, while regular surfers have a much higher chance.

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