It’s getting pretty sharky around here these days, especially for those people who like to float around on foam boards dangling their feet into the ocean like a couple drumsticks.
First there was that drone video of the shark cruising ominously in the water off Oceano, apparently unbeknownst to the surfers above.
Then one took a healthy bite out of a board at Morro Strand last weekend.
Finally, another sighting on Wednesday sent people scrambling for the shore north of the Rock, resulting in a brand-new round of warnings.
Yes, the experts tell us that these recent encounters are not indicative of predatory behavior.
Instead, some number of these fellows have probably taken a liking to our Central Coast waters. They’re staking a claim to the territory and bullying any competitors who paddle by.
These sharks are looking for a rumble more than a meal, it seems.
While that may be the case, if the end result is still a 13-inch semi-circle bite as large as your leg, does it really matter what the motivation is?
I have the luxury of being in no way entranced by the sport of surfing. So it’s very easy for me to enjoy the ocean without actually getting into it.
But those of you who live for the stoke must grapple with conflicting emotions.
To shred or be shredded, that is the question.
Of course, the likelihood of anyone actually getting mauled by a great white is very slim.
Like all highly improbable events — getting struck by lightning, winning the lottery, hearing something intelligent emerge from the mouth of Donald Trump — we think our chances for extreme good luck or peril are far higher than they actually are.
This is a basic human trait that spans cultures and continents, which is why Elinor Dempsey’s red surfboard enjoyed a starring role in newscasts around the world.
A friend of mine who once called Morro Bay home but now lives in Minnesota thinks there’s a tourism opportunity to exploit here.
“Dude, you’re now living in the coastal version of Yellowstone Park,” he wrote to me on Facebook, “except you’re the deer and the wolves are circling.”
He thinks the Chambers of Commerce here should host a shark-fishing tournament, with the angler who hooks the largest great white taking home $10,000.
I think his brain’s been marinating in that soupy Midwestern air a bit too long.
As it’s always been, our best course is to just live and let live with our dorsal-finned friends, while giving them an extra-wide berth in the water during those times they meander especially close to shore.
I told my friend I couldn’t support his plan. I’m not anti-shark.
And I’m also not the deer — Tribune reporter Pat Pemberton and photographer Joe Johnston are the deer.
Both avid surfers, Pat and Joe wrote and photographed the story in Central Coast Living coming Sunday about a guy in San Luis Obispo who’s trying to revive the sport of mat surfing.
Pat even gave it a try.
If he can hit the waves on an undersized air mattress without too many jitters, all you longboarders should feel reasonably secure.
So get back out and do what you do. Just be safe.