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Making Peace with the Beach
June 2008 | by Jon Edelbrock


On April 25, many things changed for those of us who enjoy recreation in our ocean waters. The white-shark attack in Solana Beach was an incredible tragedy for many, and has challenged the psyche of all who enjoy our local beaches.

By now, all of us have heard or read many accounts and theories related to the incident. Personally, I've been somewhat overwhelmed by all the information, most of which lacks validity and reliability. The media have inundated us with information on shark deterrent devices, possible sightings, probabilities of attack, and a multitude of untested hypotheses.

To date, there have been many claims of shark sightings, encounters, and even a report of an Orca near the surf zone in Del Mar. Without deliberately discrediting anyone, none of the claims made in the local area have been substantiated. I'm not trying to say the ocean is a swimming pool and devoid of dangers; however, there is certainly a large amount of hype surrounding the possibility of a shark being in our neighborhood.

For me, and many of my friends who enjoy the ocean, there was little choice as to which direction this profound event would lead us. Like many residents of Del Mar, our lives revolve around the ocean. Do we change hobbies, friends, and in my case, my profession? I'll admit, I've eased back in to my normal routine of surfing, swimming, and paddling in the ocean. I'm not exactly excited about having the innocence of my buoy swims stripped from me in one swoop; but, I'm certainly not going to let it get the best of me nor does it seem others are letting it get the best of them.

I've noticed that swimmers and surfers in Del Mar are gradually getting back to doing what they love. While we're not seeing nearly as much offshore swimming and paddling, most people seem to have gone back to enjoying the ocean, and the number of phone calls and questions about sharks have subsided. For me, these things alone are therapeutic and help me find a sense of normalcy after a tragedy that hit so close to home.


Jon Edelbrock reports from the 17 th Street Lifeguard Station.



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