ESPN has published an extensive and well-written piece covering last year’s fatal shark attack at Solana Beach. We’ve excerpted the beginning below:
SOLANA BEACH, CALIFORNIA
Other than the helicopters and the lifeguards and the coroner, he had eight miles of beach to himself that morning. The posted signs said, “Get Back!” and “Enter At Your Own Risk!” and “Shark Warning!” but he rushed past all of them to his father’s reef.
As he knelt in the sand, the ocean spoke to him. He could hear his father’s low, soothing voice, which made him break down and weep, and he spoke back: I’m coming in. I’m coming in the water to see you. The shark’s not going to win.
So that’s how it happened. That’s how a man decided to surf and swim at a reef that was off-limits, at a reef where his father, only 24 hours earlier, had lost his legs and his life.
They still talk about it in the quaint San Diego suburb of Solana Beach. They talk about how a grieving 41-year-old man inspired an entire town to get back in the water. But what they don’t know, to this day, is what it all meant to the woman who was swimming next to the man’s father. The woman who saw the shark. The woman who, in the aftermath, could not stop crying and shaking and heaving.