Sharks!

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My hands are shaking.  No, I’m not angry.  I’m not fuming with indignation or disgust.  I’ve simply had far too much to drink.  Coffee.

With an energized mind I tend to focus on things I despise.  A curse?  Perhaps, but I write on.

“I would never donate to any charity that would help sharks.  I hope they all die,” said President Trump.

Chas Smith of BEACHGRIT recently (not that recently, but I’ve been drinking) wrote about the President’s statement, referencing the ancient proverb, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  Chas went on to dub President Trump an honorary surfer, which can only mean that Chas Smith shares our leader’s contempt for the large fish.

I, too, am terrified of these underwater beasts, but alas I am not so quick-fingered and impulsive (sounds like a teenage boy aiming for the slip for the first time).

I want to wholeheartedly disagree, but I then fantasize about a world without sharks.  It’s fluffy, and safe and there aren’t any sharks.

Tut, tut.  There are reasons this world should not exist.  Namely, science.  The ecosystem exists in a delicate balance, the ocean especially.  Sharks provide invaluable skills that keep said ecosystem in balance and, thus, thriving.   Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard the arguments.  Are they true?

When an ecosystem is thriving, its reefs are healthy and full.  When those reefs are healthy and full they provide the infrastructure that grant people like Chas and every other surfer those things called waves.

Alas, I, too am not getting out of bed to campaign for sharks, nor are any of these others surfers, let alone the professionals.  So, although Chas is, perhaps, wrong to lend his support of the President’s bedtime remarks, I fear I’m no different.

This topic, however, got me to thinking: What do professional surfers campaign for?

I don’t see them banding together to protest any sort of ecological or oceanic preservation or anything of the sort?  Why is that?  DGAF?  One would think these surfers would do all they could to protest and rally their fans and supporters to champion ocean conservation efforts.

Aside from the bald one, Kelly Slater, I’m hard-pressed to think of any professional watermen that have outwardly, vocally, passionately stood to protect the very oceans in which they make their living.

Perhaps that’s it there.  Their livings are made traveling the world surfing the most beautiful waves it has to offer.  Life is good.  Life doesn’t get much better than that.

To rock the proverbial boat may be unwise.  Examples have manifested aplenty, no one more so than Colin Kapernick.

This all being said, I could very well be dead wrong – and I hope I am, but if these surfers are out there campaigning and supporting efforts to conserve our oceans, their voices have not reached the likes of me and I’m much closer to the sport than most.

I’m going to do some digging.  Let’s find out who stands for what in professional surfing.  Stay tuned.

-S. Ben Willoughby

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