I’d planned on surfing yesterday – the buoys, the wind, everything was spot on. But I went to the gym in the morning because I hadn’t been for a while and then just after noon the text messages and phone calls started in: Shark.

The Times-Standard did a good job covering it. Here’s today’s story.

Conditions lately have been exactly like they were about this time of year back in 2004, when BK was hit while surfing the same location. Can’t say I haven’t noticed and been thinking about the similarities. That classic fall swell, so clean, no wind, clear water, balmy days. Earthquake weather. Shark weather. But even here, odds are rare, driving to the beach is statistically more dangerous than surfing, yadda yadda. So I go. We all go, or at least most of us, uneasily wondering not if, but when.

#49: Those were some solid-looking sets, I thought as I suited up. And then I tried not to think too hard about it. Yeah, that was definitely double-over and that guy on it is taller than me, but I’ll hug the jetty and stay on the rights and I can do this, I’ve done it before, and I can always come in if I get too intimidated. Thus was my thought process as I paddled out. I did hug the jetty, dodging the set waves while admiring the guys going for them and catching a couple baby waves in between.

Then I psyched myself up to go for a bigger – though not a biggest – right. Except just as I was about to get into it, I decided it was too steep and wussed out. Unfortunately I was too late to avoid being swept up and ended up not only going over the falls, but doing a complete vertical flip with my board in my hands. It was one of my more epic wipeouts, for sure. All slow motion at first – nooooooooooooo – as I saw the wave face slip away as the lip pitched me and nothing but air between me and the top of the ocean several feet below. Upon impact, I lost hold of my board. It smashed into my calves as we tumbled, and my thigh, so I have a few new bruises documenting my stupidity.

After that, I decided that I’d much rather wipe out from trying for a wave than backing out of one, so I made myself take off on another right – head-and-a-half or so – made it and kicked out in the channel remembering Oh, yeah! This is what I came out here to do! And then I caught a nicely sized left almost all the way to the beach, opted to end on a positive note and called it good.

#50: Low-stress surf with a friend. Sunshine. Happiness.