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02/16/2005 Greg Long (Hawaii) No Injury

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 6:10 am
by helmi
Greg Long was attacked by a tiger shark while surfing at Rocky Point.
The victim escaped unhurt.


Nathan Myers

San Clemente’s Greg Long Attacked by Tiger Shark at Rocky Point

On Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2005, San Clemente surfer Greg Long had a bit of a scare. “Bit of a scare to say to the least,” says Long, calling from the Johnson’s North Shore home to recall the incident.

“I went over to Rocky Lefts to try out my 6’6”. The surf was bit big and washy, but a couple fun corners and I wanted to check out the board. I’d been out there for about 30 minutes and there was a nice little lull. I’d moved inside a little bit, pretty much onto the rights, and -- I don’t actually remember if I was sitting or laying, but I must have been laying otherwise I wouldn’t have a leg right now -- just out of nowhere, it came from straight underneath me and just blasted my board, launched me a foot or two into the air and I landed in the water; my ribs are still hurting from the blow of it. Right when it happened so many things ran through my head, like, giant turtle, seal (even though I know there’s none of those over here), a breaching whale and then the last thing I thought of was a shark. This is all within a split second of being hit. And then I kind of regrouped my thoughts and composure and saw the whole outline, the grayish brown outline, never got a really good luck but I’m pretty certain it was a tiger. My first initial thought, based on what I’ve heard about sharks, was that I should defend myself. But it was actually out of my range a little bit, because at the same time I did a little frog kick to get away from it, sort of punching at it a little bit with my hand. But when I was kicking I grazed it with my foot. Then I pulled on my leash, got my board and just bee-lined straight for shore. At first I was scrambling like a madman, never paddled so hard in my life, but then I kinda mellowed out to look over my shoulder and try not to attract too much attention.

Unfortunately, it was during a lull, but finally a big double up landed on my head, I ditched my board, got dragged across the reef, took another one on the head and did it all over again. [Photographer] Scotty Bauer saw the commotion from the beach, looked through his lens and saw the fin right next to me right after it happened. He saw the shark turn and head toward Sunset. He came running down thinking I was missing a leg or something. There was also another guy who reached the beach a few strokes before me and I was, like, “Wow, you saw that right?” And he said, yeah, and so I was like, okay, at least someone’s going to believe me. I looked at my board in disbelief and did a pat down to check for all my limbs. I was fine, and with all the adrenaline and shock I was actually just kind of laughing. Like, did that really happen? I just got attacked by a shark. And then I went up to the house and showered off and calmed my nerves and thinking about what really happened. I almost had a full emotional breakdown at that point, absolutely taken aback by the whole thing. It still doesn’t seem real. Like, as of yesterday, I was attacked by a shark. I’m pretty amazed, and I’m the luckiest man alive right now I’d say.

"My initial guess was that it was 8-feet long. I saw the fin was about 12 inches out of the water. People over here say that tigers are non-aggressive, basically just bottom feeders, until they get like 10 feet, and that’s when they have the confidence to go after bigger food. So I know it’s just a case of mistaken identity. He came at me jaws wide open, but all he got was the bottom of the surfboard, so there was nothing for him to grab onto. I got indentures on the back 1/3 of my board, by the stringer, and then some pressure dings outlining where the other teeth might have been, then two bigger ones on the side of each rail and another three overlapping on the top of the deck. So I guess he missed me by a fraction of a fraction of an inch, but one way another it was as close and as lucky as you could ever possibly be. I’m counting my blessing. Just happy to be here.

“I surfed my heat this morning [Pipeline Monster Energy Pro], lost first round and I’m walking up the beach with that pouty-faced loser look, you know, and then it’s like, well, gee, at least I’m walking up the beach. But yeah, I was back at Rocky Rights today, with just a half a dozen people out there instead of the couple dozen that were out the yesterday. Right now I’m pretty confident that I’m okay, but you never what kinda of psychological effect might happen in the middle of the night. But, they say it’s next to impossible to be attacked twice, so I’m in pretty good shape now as far as that goes.” ... ng_021805/