Spring is near, which means beach weather is approaching soon. Growing up by the ocean, I was always a big beach bum and had no problem jumping into the cold ocean to body surf and boogie board. My only concern was sharks.
When I was younger the Jaws movies were huge, instilling fear of the ocean into even the most knowledgeable ocean swimmers. I made the mistake of watching them right around the time I learned in school that our nearby bays are breeding grounds for Great Whites and that they can swim in very shallow water. When giant oral shark skeletons that I could easily crawl through were brought into class by marine biologists, my fear of sharks solidified.
A few years back I went sea kayaking with my mom off the coast of Kona. Everything was going well until she sliced her foot on some lava while snorkeling. Blood started gushing everywhere. I started screaming “Mom, get in the kayak! Hurry!” I climbed back into our little boat faster than you could yell “Sharrrrrrk!” while my mom slowly made her way over. I was completely freaked out for the rest of the journey that we were going to have sharks tracking us, and of course nothing happened. After this experience I knew I had to conquer my fear of sharks, mostly because I love nothing more than being in the ocean, and I bought a gold shark tooth necklace-which I wear all the time-as a symbol of this goal. Now, I love sharks! (Just, errr, not big ones next to me while I’m swimming.)