How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Great White Shark
A fanatical fear of sharks scares a longtime surfer out of the water, but an offbeat website and many hours with the Discovery Channel help her learn to love the ocean again.
Photo courtesy Lwp Kommunikáció; flickr.com/photos/lwpkommunikacio
By the time the news of Doug Niblack’s shark attack reached my inbox, it had been five years since I retired my own surfboard.
“It was just like the movies,” Niblack told reporters. His longboard struck something that resembled a rock, except the rock had a dorsal fin and was moving. A Northwest native and a regular at the “The Cove,” a popular surfing break along the Oregon coast, Niblack was aware that sharks there attacked with some frequency, and he was now standing on one.
To witnesses on shore, Niblack looked as though he was standing knee-deep in a whirlpool, fifty feet out. The shark had attacked from below, like a locomotive, knocking away Niblack’s board. He rode its back until the shark became disoriented, turned and swam out to sea, leaving him to paddle safely to the beach.
For many weekends over the course of many years, I too had surfed the Cove. Reading the story from the safety of my New York office cubicl…