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Mick vs. Shark: Why surfers get chomped

Truth be told, I don’t know a lot about Mick Fanning. I know he is an accomplished surfer and that his name is on my favorite pair of sandals. You know, the ones with the bottle opener on the bottom.

What I DO know a lot about are sharks.

Over the weekend, Mick Fanning learned something about sharks. He learned that sharks want to eat him! Can you blame them? Surfers look like shark’s favorite food…sea lions.

Now that we have all become professional cell phone photographers, this should be easy to understand. You always want the camera between the sun and your subject. If your subject is between the camera and the sun, your subject is just a black shadow.

Same concept with a sharks vision. The shark is searching for food and senses a disturbance at the surface. This could be splashing or paddling. When the shark looks up to investigate, it is looking from dark to light. Remember, the subject is now between the camera (shark’s eyes) and the sun. Anything on the surface is just a shadow.

Now, picture what that must look like to a shark. An elongated oval (the surfboard) with two splashing appendages protruding from each side (surfer’s arms) and two little tail flippers off the back (Surfer’s feet). Yep, looks just like a sea lion.

This is one of the main reasons why I never surfed while growing up in Southern California. I know that the odds are around 11 million to 1 but hey, why borrow trouble?

Remember, when we are in the ocean or high mountains, we are not the top of the food chain. We are visiting a different ecosystem. We become “Eco-Tourists”.

I’m not trying to scare anyone. My kids play in the ocean all of the time. My hope is that we more understand that sharks aren’t out to eat humans. Its not their fault that we dress up as their favorite snack and dive on in.

Glad Mick is okay.

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