Along certain stretches of Australia's east coast, often the only time you can get a session to yourself
is in the immediate aftermath of an attack; on the coast of Réunion Island meanwhile, many an otherwise inviting line-up has lain empty due to the ever-present threat of dismemberment. Some hardy souls choose to take advantage of their fellow surfers' fear and enjoy golden uncrowded surfs with none but the sharks for company -- which is all well and good, and will certainly increase your wave-count in the immediate short-term, but it also entails the very real risk of getting eaten.
So why not start a rumour? Get everyone to believe there's a giant man-eating fish in the vicinity and watch your wave-count go through the roof. Perhaps less credible on European shores, but still worth a try; bribe a local fisherman to corroborate your story, or even better, collude with Surf Europe
! Sharks are great for traffic, nobody gets eaten, everyone's a winner.
Gold Coast pro surfer turned elite triathlete Clint "Clipper" Kimmins
employed this very tactic in 2010, when he posted the following fictitious eye-witness account to his Facebook: "Just saw a guy's leg get ripped off by a bull shark at Burleigh Cove. Soo heavy." The rumour spread like wildfire through the Australian bush, though Clint was soon rumbled with a can full of gas and a handful of matches.
"The waves were so crowded this morning, I put up the message in the car park before I went out for a surf," he said afterwards
. "It's more of a safety factor, it's not just me being selfish trying to claim the waves. But it is dangerous out there when people don't know what they are doing."
The status was shared and re-shared, and by the afternoon it had caused quite a stir. The fraud was exposed, the local media picked up on the story, and Clipper took a bit of a hiding.
"I can't believe how gullible people are. I can't believe how fast it spread. I'm really sorry if I wasted anyone's time."
Hint: always start rumours anonymously.