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PRESIDENT Continued from page 11

There are however, plenty of well-docu- mented shark attacks in Jeffrey’s Bay and when asked why they host it there knowing the risks involved, the inevitable response of having the best conditions for surfing continues to come up.

I was struck by the amount of shock by all parties involved here. It was like going to a state with the name Dakota in it during the month of January and being overwhelmed with surprise at the sight of a snowman in front of a school.

This doesn’t necessarily fit well into the complacency category because you have to hand it to the water safety team, as they were on the spot within seconds of trouble. They were clearly well prepared.

Yet shock was still shared by all. This comes with the desired, if not prepared for, outcome time and time again. Yet even when it’s the name of the game, there was surprise when someone rolled snake eyes that day. There is as much to praise in this, as there is to admonish.

In the world of trucking, you all have to be ready for the inevitable introduction of great whites into the equation. You prep and practice for anything and everything, from accident insurance and recovery, to pre-trip inspection, to the quality of techni- cians you hire and the preventative mainte- nance schedules you put into place.

As infrequent as they can be, when the sharks, which are almost always right below you, do finally come up and take a bite—it is imperative that your team flies into action. And when you see the footage for yourself— I do mean fly.

The planning and best practices that you have in place means everybody knows what to do no matter the crisis before you. You don’t lose your cool, time or assets trying to figure out what to do next. Your team acts because they are well prepared and they don’t even have to think about it.

It is the nature of the sport.

After the calm returns and you evaluate what just happened and how your team reacted, you make even further adjust- ments. We are all constantly working to make improvements. If the metric for your

12 Summer 2015

actions was .01, you will immediately work on a new plan to reach a goal of .005. No, that is not some sort of sickness, as some might suggest, it is simply good leadership.

So the next time you are faced with the prospects of pure peril and you come out unscathed—don’t trip out! Take a look at the team you have surrounded yourself with, give the appropriate accolades for their dedication and their execution and immediately go to work to see what we all could have done better. What do we learn? If you just gave kudos and moved on, you risk complacency setting in. There is no “might risk” there is just plain ole “risk.”

Cool heads prevail, take a moment to vet your course, bounce it off your team and make an even better decision. The best decision at that point in the competition on that particular day may have been the obvi- ous. An announcement by WSL Commissioner Kieren Perron, that the competition was done for the day and the finalists would split the purse and the points—two, second-place finishes as the sharks clearly stole top billing.

Thirty minutes later the same 12-foot shark was spotted in the breaks once again—apparently he heard he had won also.

Here’s my attempt at a Yogism for the day—“things we can’t control are unpre- dictable.” So plan that way. My point being that even in a contest between man and shark, the outcome is not certain.

While at the beach this summer with my own family, in coaxing my boys to swim a lit- tle further and further into the surf with me, I fielded the same question asked a hundred different ways and each time with grave con- cern. “Dad, are there sharks out here?”

Confound that Animal Planet and it’s infernal “Shark Week.” My answer, one hundred times, the exact same, “Yes.”

You should hear the wonderful laughter and the stories—oh the stories that have ensued from the Brothers Esparza since those days in the Florida surf.

Thankfully nary a regret and nobody “tripped out.” R

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