Oregon's New Surf Vs. Shark Drama
By Justin "Scrappers" Morrison
Oregon’s most popular surf spot is in the middle of a big natural process that might make the water very sharky. A dead 38ft humpback whale washed up on Oswald West's sandy shores yesterday.
According to the The Daily Astorian, The whale is staying put. “It looks like we’re having a series of lower tides and based on the current location of the whale, we’re expecting it to remain in place.”
So the beach is pretty stinky. This stink isn’t just in the air, it’s in the sand, and the water. This stink is death and sharks love death!
We can’t honestly look into the future and say we know what will happen, but come on. Sharks are coming to Short Sands. They might just swim by and decide it’s not worth it. Or they might stick around for a long time?
Let’s look at the dead whale that washed up in Southern California in November, 2002. As it decomposed it became buried in the sand chumming the waters of popular surf spots San Onofre and Trestles for a long time. These spots have now become white shark breeding grounds. In a Surfline thread Ralph S. Collier, from the Shark Research Committee admits, “increased frequency of white sharks at San Onofre could have been the result of the dead whale on the beach leaching decaying material into the water”.
Collier went on to caution surfers about the whale juice attracting sharks, “The juveniles remain close inshore and feed on fishes. Most of the sharks being sighted off our Southern California beaches are juveniles or sub-adults, which range in length from 4 to 9 feet. Although they are not interested in humans, encounters are possible and therefore caution should be exercised when using areas they are known to frequent.”
Short Sands is not infested with sharks right now, but on Wednesday, Sept 21, 1994 Rob MacKenzie was attacked there. ”Rob went flying into the air, still attached to his board by a seven-foot leash, and came down in the water just in front of the shark. The board had become impaled sideways on the shark's lower jaw and, to dislodge it, the shark raised its back half out of the water and slammed its head on the surface until the board floated free. Then the shark dived, getting its tail caught on the leash and pulling Rob and his board under as it swam for deeper water. Under the strain, the leash broke, shooting the board high in the air and allowing Rob to surface and retrieve it.” Read more attack details >>>
Portland is getting three new surf shops: Cosube, Leeward, and Up North Surf Club. Short Sands is one of the nearest beginner's surf spots. The rotting whale is welcoming hungry sharks. We don’t know what will happen, but let’s just be extra safe out there and follow these tips:
-Don’t surf alone.
-Don’t surf after dark.
-Don’t surf if you see other water critters doing weird shit like jumping out of the water as if they are trying to escape a predator.
-Don’t surf near spots that the salmon are running up to spawn. Think rivers and creeks.
-Don’t surf where a dead mammal, or whale, is rotting into the sea.
I hate writing this story! Short Sands is my favorite place in the whole world. I'm totally going to surf there knowing my chances of shark death are better than ever. Fuck it. I go to die eventually and I'd rather die doing something I love in nature than watching the Price is Right in a hospital bed full of cancer.