Surfing is one of the sports activities that I admired since childhood. The competition was entirely unknown to me until the age of eight when my father took us abroad to attend a wedding ceremony of one his workmates in Trinidad and Tobago. The wedding party took place in one of the popular beach hotels in that country. During the event, we encountered a local team of surfers readying themselves for a tournament that was taking place on that particular day. The sight of the ocean teaming with people delicately gliding on a board without sinking created a scene that I enjoyed for a couple of hours. How can some can one ride on board with such ease and comfort? Arent they scared of sinking or colliding with aquatic creatures? We animatedly cheered and encouraged the participants yet had little information on who they were. Upon return from the trip, I decided to explore the sport.
The desire to learn surfing culminated in the enrollment with a surfing club in the community that was taking part in the surfing competitions in the country. I continued to be part of this surfing community until something horrifying happened during the last year of high school studies. The terrible incident totally affected the local membership of the surfing clubs and also resulted in the adoption of elaborate security measures during club competitions. Also, the happening made several clubs suspend games until the security concerns raised after the mentioned incident were adequately addressed.
The incident in question involved two skillful members of a rival club in the neighborhood who always received a lot of admiration from the fans across the surfing clubs in the district. The teenagers were known as Smith James and Alex Thomas, always flocked together during competitions, and because of this tendency suffered the same fate during this particular sporting event. It began with all the teams assembling on the venue to present their representatives for the days event. All participants gathered at the shore as they waited for the emergency rescue teams to arrive before the official commencement of the competition. Nevertheless, Thomas and Smith had already taken a plunge into the ocean to warm up the crowd as was their routine during these events. As part of the participants, I watched from a distance how the young men displayed their skills at a loud cheer from the spectators. Hardly had the rescue team arrived did I notice that the boys had moved farther into the waters, and both looked struggling to keep themselves afloat. How come they are generating splashes? I mused. More participants noticed the anomaly and the officials immediately alerted the rescue team who swiftly moved into the waters to find out. For a split of a second, we realized that the two boys had been attacked by sharks and had suffered injuries. At this moment, Thomas was almost invisible behind a big tail of a shark and blood mixed with water surrounded his struggling body. Smith could not be seen at all.
The medical team pulled the youngsters out of the water and frantically tried to resuscitate them. Smith was profusely bleeding because he had his entire torso damaged extensively. Also, the ribcage was almost turned inside out as far as we could see from a distance. Moments later, he was pronounced death prompting the officials to call off the event. A somber mood engulfed the place as the participants, and the spectators left the scene in low tones, each baffled by the sad turn of events. Meanwhile, Thomas was rushed to the hospital where he was treated for several weeks before succumbing to his injuries.
The dreadful scenes of that day made a serious implication in the subsequent editions of the competition. More safety measures were set by the local authorities to avoid the recurrence of such disasters. The measures included the inspection of the waters before the kick-off of the competitions to ascertain the presence of sharks. Also, all participants were banned from venturing into the water before the official commencement. Personally, I contemplated quitting the sport and eventually acted upon these feelings, two years after the fatal incident.
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