Your worst ocean swimming experience.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by ozcal, Apr 5, 2020.

  1. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    We used to canoe run stream fed rivers in Florida, that connected one Pothole Spring to the next and the next. The water was gin clear, and down there towards the bottom, there often would be what looked like a small alligator. They seemed to know about guns, and so they stayed as far away as possible.

    But one time we forced a trip to happen in a drought, and the creek runs were partially draggings, and the pots were somewhat depleted as to water. And then you realized, that "small" alligator was not small in any way. Just cautious, and previously further away than you thought.

    I think in recent decades. Suburban Housewives have begun accidentally feeding their toy poodles and cats, to alligators, and of course discharge of guns could get your a Ticket or worse, and the successive generations of gators are getting more and more fearless. And so I would not employ my life experience from 15 years and more in the past, to know how an alligator might behave today. Things like this, can change. We used to encounter lots of alligators but they knew to get clear of us. I can't promise anything, about now.
     
  2. fretWalkr

    fretWalkr Tele-Holic

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    I was about 11 and camped out with cousins on Ship Island off the Mississippi Gulf coast. We went swimming off the tip of the island. We were about chest deep and a Giant Manta breached about 10-15 feet further out from where we were swimming. It way big, black, seemed to fly out of the water and was airborne for a few yards. I think we were more stunned than scared because we stood and watched rather than making a dash for the shore. Immediate thoughts were how deep does this freaking water get? We must have been right at the edge of a steep drop off. Later I've seen videos of Giant Mantas seemingly flying out of the water just like the one we saw.

    In my twenties I went swimming at a beach at Santa Monica. I'm a good swimmer and did some body surfing as a kid on the NW Florida Gulf coast. These waves looked pretty good so I thought I'd give it a try. On my first attempt a wave caught me, flipped me end over end...I didn't know what hit me. It was like being in a washing machine. These were not the waves I knew in the Gulf! The force of the So Cal waves scared me enough that I stayed out of the water for the rest of the afternoon. Now that I think about it I've been to the California coast many times over the years but it never even occurred to me to swim in the Pacific again.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
  3. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Poster Extraordinaire

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    Pacific coast, particularly SoCal, is not more dangerous than the Gulf or Atlantic coast. It’s just very different than what you’re used to. In fact, SoCal is buffered from blue water by the Channel Islands, making swells fairly ‘calm’ and consistent. That, and it’s west facing. That’s the best of both worlds for swells and waves optimal for surfing.

    Apart from west facing coastal areas and Hawaii, much of what people call body surfing and boogie/body boarding is actually not. Body boarding, and body surfing in particular, need steep waves, that Atlantic and Gulf generally don’t have. And both need fins to help propel you into the face. Otherwise, it’s just the wave pushing you toward shore, instead of riding it. It takes practice to get right. But without ridable waves, practice will get you nowhere.

    Next time yer in CA, grab yourself a good pair of surf fins, and venture in. You will get toppled and pounded a bit, but you’ll get it. Do what the surfers do, and get your head under the lip of the wave before it crests. Dive deep under the ones you couldn’t make in time. Learn the dance. When body surfing you don’t get the luxury of sitting on your board past the breakers, waiting for the next big set. You gotta stay in the closer to shore in the war zone. Get ready for a workout.

    Try to catch a few right before they crash, move in the direction the wave is crashing, and kick and paddle like your life depended on it to get into the bowl, and ride it. Your body and hand is the board. Yer not swimming. You’re not being pushed. When yer in, you’ll know it.

    you’ll never forget that feeling. And you’ll want to do it again.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
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  4. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Poster Extraordinaire

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    Really? A panty liner? Are you guys 12 years old? Women have periods. Man up and get over it. I have never understood why people – especially men – find periods and "period related stuff" scary, gross, unmentionable, etc.

    I would say rays, jellyfish, urchins, sharks, A-hole surfers nearly slicing me in two, etc. that I've come near are the closest to danger I'd experienced in the ocean. Nothing but good times. That said, I don't frequent the beach. It has never been "my thing."

    FWIW, the first song I wrote, when I was a young teenager first starting to play guitar, was an instrumental surf song based on a true surfing experience I had. The song was called "Floater." Anyone's guess what it was about...
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
  5. mabley123

    mabley123 Friend of Leo's

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    Myrtle Beach 1976.

    Was about 60 feet from shore and something big ran into my leg. If I could have sprouted wings I would have.

    Been squeamish about getting in the ocean ever since.

    Before that Id go out as far as you could go.
     
  6. zeedoctour

    zeedoctour Tele-Meister

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    People talk about "something big" bumped me and I don't doubt that it did ... but ... sharks have highly abrasive skin (denticles) which is like sandpaper but much coarser. If you'd been brushed by a shark in most cases you'd have a serious bit of gravel rash going on.
     
  7. kbold

    kbold Friend of Leo's

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    Surfing at Coffs Harbour, when I turned to see a large dorsal fin above the waterline about 6 feet away.

    By the time I realised it was a dolphin, the adrenaline had peaked.
     
  8. Jerry J

    Jerry J Friend of Leo's

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    That's because like a lot of post-war Italians she moved to the USA where we do have oceans. She instilled my love of the ocean and she had no fear swimming in it. I recall many times the lifeguards whistling her in because they thought she was in danger. But she ignored them. And she kept her love of the ocean through her life.
     
  9. glenlivet

    glenlivet Tele-Afflicted

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    @whatisitman is correct ...true body surfing is a lot harder that it seems.... I could never really master it.

    But.....some of the most fun I've had in the ocean is on the same waves, with little boogie boards.....kinda like mopeds, you don't want your friends to see you riding one, but they can be a blast!
     
  10. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Poster Extraordinaire

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    I guess I've just seen so many dolphins and porpoises since I was a little kid, I just don't equate the two. To my knowledge, I have have never seen a shark surface while swimming or surfing in the ocean. If i see a larger fin, I just think dolphin. Maybe I should be more aware. :D

    Not just in CA, but in FL. They're everywhere in those areas. And it's not like Sea World has petting pools with sharks. Sharks don't like to make themselves known. That, and they are rarely as big as a dolphin. Different colors, too. And they have different behaviors and movements. Dolphins seem playful, because they are. Sharks are not mammals. Big difference in behaviors.

    But that all means nothing when the fight or flight kicks in! :eek:
     
  11. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Poster Extraordinaire

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    I disagree. Nothing better than to see all ages enjoying the ocean. In fact, it bugs me far more when younger people do the 'locals only' thing in coastal areas. One of the unfortunately many things I don't miss about CA. It's always younger people with a bone to pick. Older folks have outgrown that, and just enjoy themselves. Ugly trunks, big guts, and all! Get out and enjoy the water!

    I was so young when my family moved to the beach, that I still can't do the "lay out" thing. Too boring. I gotta get in the water and do something. Going to the beach and not going in the water just doesn't equate to me.
     
  12. glenlivet

    glenlivet Tele-Afflicted

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    Right on.....I'm with ya.....I can't just sit....gotta move.
     
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  13. Jerry J

    Jerry J Friend of Leo's

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    Here's another experience that could have gone wrong. Summer of '12 my family and I rented a house in Truro, CC. CC has great swimming experiences - the ocean, the bay and these fresh bodies of water called kettle ponds which are the result of retreating ice from the last Ice age. This house had two kayaks but they were lake kayaks and not ocean kayaks. Not to be deterred, we had friends from Virginia staying bayside in Wellfleet, another great CC town.

    We meet our friends at their bayside beach and I launch the kayak and take off. It's relatively calm and in no time I'm about a mile out in the bay. The water is still calm and I have all the confidence in the world until I flipped the kayak. It's like a scene from Gilligan's Island - my hat is floating above me and I managed to catch my Oakleys in my teeth. I pop up, grab my hat, put on my glasses and right the kayak. I could right the boat however I couldn't get back in without flipping it again. So what do I do next? I realized the water was about neck deep and I'm a mile out, so I slowly start walking back to the beach. Then I started getting a creepy feeling about the GW shark population explosion in CC and think I'm a free lunch if any are near me.

    Thankfully, there were no sharks in the water but I cut the crap out of my feet because there's nothing but oyster beds on the bay's bottom. My neighbor saw me and waded out about a 1/4 mile to assist me. And that was my last kayaking experience!
     
  14. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Poster Extraordinaire

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    Never. Kayak. Alone. Best if you have two kayaks. Same with canoes. You have to use one to right the other.

    Eagle Scout, represent! ;)
     
  15. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    welp, don't even have any close calls...that I know about. Guess that's another good job my mom did. She was all red cross and WSI and stuff, so I learned to enjoy the water from an early age. Been fortunate to go swimming in the Pacific, Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Sea of Cortez, off the coast of France, etc. Never learned to surf though, so didn't have something calling me out towards big breakers. Sure, body surfing or getting pushed by waves - that's great fun, and the feel of being in the water; all good.

    I mean, I was snorkeling with some buddies off of one of the Keys, and after awhile, it seemed like there were a few too many barracudas around, sort of herding us. So we just stood up and walked out of the water.

    Got no worse times. Yet. I still want to learn how to surf.
     
  16. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Probably good overall advice, for those who don't paddle 30 days a year.

    I'm probably better off, kayaking by myself, than being run over by someone while waiting in an eddy. My last mishap was because of trying to pair up with some people. I let them go on ahead of me a decent distance, then they go down into a rapid and one by one, pin their watercraft to every exposed rock, and don't signal to those behind them who cannot see what they've done. Getting swept under a raft, upside down, with no way to get free, is no different than being swept under a fallen tree.

    I learned that basic ACA canoe + canoe rescue, as a Scout. But since then I've rescued, at least a hundred canoes and I look for an opportunity to actually use it and it hadn't come yet. Granted, I run creeks and smaller rivers and am on lakes basically to paddle out to a shuttle vehicle at a boat ramp. A lot of the canoes are fairly compact, and chocked full of floatation that's designed not to just pop out when you need it most. We're not, mostly dumping water out of a sunk canoe. We're re-uniting paddlers with their boats; pulling boats out of "hydraulics", pulling boats off of submerged trees - and helping people out who are pinned some way, sometimes the paddler under water, in sieves or sketchy rock jumbles.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
  17. John E

    John E Friend of Leo's

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    Hmmm, I have always been around water as I grew up on a lake. So I have been involved in some ugly things, seeing a drowned person pulled up by divers, a guy run over by his own boat trying to clear seaweed out of his propeller, I got pulled from the water twice as a toddler. Hmm, typing that out it makes me wonder why I love the water so much! lol

    That said my worst experience was at the Jersey shore with my mom and the wife/kids a few years ago. Seems like forever ago now.

    Short story long... I had a Bad, BAD body surfing accident (on my first day of vacation August 2016 - didn't even get to enjoy the first 24 hours of my vacation!!!) in LBI. I got pile driven head first into the sand... and it was lights out for my whole upper body. Literally like someone flicked a light switch into "off". No feeling at all for either arm. As soon as I hit, I was like... "Holy crap... I just broke my neck!" Funny thing is, I knew something was way off with the surf. I told the kids "No body surfing today" and then I surfed the very next wave in. Basically I was back boarded on the beach and then airlifted to Atlantic City hospital. I was In ICU for 2 days. On top of losing all feeling in my upper body when my head hit the sand, I could not get out of the water. Literally Almost drowned. It took every ounce of will to get to my knees and somehow out of the surf.


    Pretty bad and scary experience. Definitely VERY lucky though. I am shocked they did not have posted warnings out based on what was going on with the surf/under-toe during this time, due to the dredging of out-water sand to bring back in to build up the beach after hurricane sandy. Apparently this completely changes the surf (intensifies it by like 10x) and they had 4 or 5 other water related back/neck injuries in ICU where they helicoptered me, as well as numerous others in the prior week(s). I was told by the trauma doctor that one was a 22 year old kid who is now a quadriplegic from the same situation and body surfing the same area. I was actually completely convinced I broke my neck (and so were they). Luckily out of 3 CAT scans and one MRI they determined no broken vertebrae or herniation... ended up diagnosed as severe spinal sprain/contusion/trauma.

    I remember Hoping/praying that I would get my arms totally back. Worried about that a lot. No guitar playing or working out for months. It was a struggle to lift an empty half gallon of milk with left hand/arm. Certainly puts life in perspective... certainly makes you realize things can change in the blink of an eye.

    I was in a neck brace for long parts of the day and for sleeping for weeks after it happened. My back was going into heavy spasm when I slept, so I was getting maybe an hour or two (at best) of sleep at night, and was in excruciating pain until the spasms subsided. Luckily I am basically 99% back to normal, I still lift very heavy weights and my guitar playing is 100% back. Still, my neck is still very "cranky" on certain days and my left arm is still just a bit weaker than my right, and I do still get some numbness.
     
  18. Jerry J

    Jerry J Friend of Leo's

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    Eagle Scout - I hear you NOW but didn't know it at the time.
     
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  19. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Poster Extraordinaire

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    Wow! @John E. I think that pretty much tops the thread. You're VERY fortunate to be alive and recovering so well!!! That's fantastic. Glad you're with us, and able to keep playing guitar!

    I guess I should preface my recommendations for body surfing (or really any surfing) with to make sure you don't venture out in drastically changed conditions, just to be brave or whatever. We can't always see why things changed. Surf spots get known for their characteristics and hazards over time, so people can prepare and avoid the dangers. But every once in a while a storm changes the shoreline, and a Big Wednesday....

    Stay safe, and know your surf spot. If something is off, don't chance it.
     
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