Nut Smyrna


Sometimes, as humans, we have to rationalize where our opt out point would be during certain events. Most of us are believers in self preservation or very realistic about what could happen during dangerous circumstances.

While others just slip on the old blinders and carry on as if things are going swimmingly.

This leads us to New Smyrna Beach, Florida. A place I have written frequently about in the past. A case study of the human ability to ignore obvious signs of detriment and a study in the game of playing the odds.

Which leads us to 9/18/2016. A day that 3 people were given a slight gumming by the ever present local shark population.

As one can notice from the picture above, the idea that 3 people were just bitten by sharks seems to be lost on this crowd. They say that you are more than likely to be struck by lighting in Florida than to be bitten by a shark  so to them the odds are in their favor.

Finally, at close to 8 p.m., I received this photo.


One lone surfer sat bobbing in the sea like a piece of hot dog on a fishing line close to dark. He is that tiny white colored dot almost dead center in the picture. For those who are not in the know, dusk and dawn are a time of feeding for many predators and sharks are in this group.  He more than likely felt that he had outsmarted society as a whole as he was out enjoying the fun surf all to his lonesome and the rest of us could not fathom the source of his joyous evening. Or he was just depressed and had a crushing work week.

The end result? I never heard anything about a missing person or another attack. So he probably paddled in and thought to himself that all those dolphins were really nice for keeping him company and for circling his board to ensure he stayed safe.


About 1stpeaksteve

Welcome to The Side Wedge! The Side Wedge is a product of the journey through life of Steve Zima. Former professional surfer, a writer, surf coach, and hospitality manager. This is a collection of travel tips, motivation, and stories from my past. Finally, I offer surf coaching through The Side Wedge. Please feel free to contact me with questions if you want to improve your performance today! Thanks for reading!
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2 Responses to Nut Smyrna

  1. mulletkiller says:

    It is funny how you become so immune to seeing those critters around.

    I was standing of the beach In OB San Francisco last week and saw something that wasn’t a dolphin or a whale but my mind played it off until I saw this

    What a handful of Bay Area surfers didn’t know,
    didn’t hurt ‘em on Wednesday as a Great White Shark breached just beyond the lineup at Ocean Beach. Few of the early morning dawn patrollers saw the shark leap from the water, but Surfline’s Cam Rewind caught it.
    “It was a dolphins and mermaids kind of day,” explained longtime Ocean Beach surfer Nick Masturzo. “Two-to three-foot and glassy.” 

Masturzo was paddling over a wave at exactly 8:46am and saw what Shark Research Committee Ralph Collier describes as a “seven-eight-foot juvenile Great White”.
“I saw it straight on,” Masturzo said. “And when I saw that white belly go up and the super defined white of pectoral fins I knew what it was. I told everyone around me and went in. It was funny, some people were saying, ‘that’s not cool,’ but I would never say ‘shark’ on a small day to try to clear the water. If it was six-to-eight-foot, maybe. [Laughs.]”  

 Masturzo came in and thought, “I wonder if Surfline caught this? I went straight to the cam rewind and couldn’t believe it. I dropped the phone.”

 There’s never been a documented shark attack at Ocean Beach, however, a surfer was reportedly bumped in 2005. “I’ve been surfing here 30 years and never seen anything like that,” he said. “Lots of dolphins, seals…we know they’re there but don’t want to believe it. Like, ‘It’s sandy, there’s no kelp, no giant sea lions, it’s great here.’”  

 A handful of guys came in, while at least 30 guys stayed out. 

 Typically, Great White Sharks will breach the water during a sneak attack on prey, coming from deep below and shooting straight up to chomp an unsuspecting seal – hence the high-def, super slo-mo footage seen on Shark Week. But it’s unclear what the shark at Ocean Beach was after, if anything. As Masturzo mentioned, the area is rife with sea life for sharks to feed on.  

And Collier commented on another possible reason for breaching: “It could be a form of communication between members of the species signifying dominance within a group, similar to the ‘jousting’ between male elk and/or deer. [But] we simply do not know.”

 But maybe he just wanted to spook the lineup, thin out the early fall season crowd a bit.

    • 1stpeaksteve says:

      I remember us all standing along the shoreline watching a few closer in (the 5 to 6 footers) and then making a break for it as they swam down the beach. I was nervous but it was kind of funny in a way. Like the day we came in together and got the last surprise right before the shore. We were laughing. I am not so amused these days…Especially after the bad bull shark attack.

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