Chuck Patterson Interview: “Why Weren’t You Afraid of that Great White Shark?” | VIDEO: “Me, My Shark, and I”

Miles Clark | | SurfSurf

Chuck Patterson’s 2010 video of a Great White Shark up close at San Onofre, California


Miles:  “Chuck, why weren’t you afraid of that Great White shark that day surfing at San Onofre?”

Chuck Patterson:  “I’d been seeing sharks just about everyday that I was surfing there.  It seemed to be a common occurrence.  I was more intrigued instead of just freaked out.  I saw them all the time and I think they were just as curious as I was.”

Chuck on his board
Chuck on his board

“I did get a scare because one was behind me when I paddled out.  I kinda startled it and then it took off and I dropped to my knee because it hit my board.  Definitely, I was kinda freaked out.  I was more bummed in the end because I didn’t get the shot and I thought I’d never see it again.  Then suddenly, 10-15 minutes later it came back again.”

Screen shot from Chuck'svideo
Screen shot from Chuck’s video

“Seeing two sharks at the same time was interesting.  I had one day where I had 3 sharks swimming around me that were just curious.  I don’t think they are hungry, they’re well fed in that area.  They’re teenage sharks so they’re just as curious as I was.”

It definitely got a little freaky once there were a lot of them out there and I was 200 yard off shore and who knows what could have happened.  You’re more confident when you’re on top of the water.”



Miles:  “What would happen if you did fall in the water and the sharks were there?”

Chuck Patterson:  “Noticing the sharks and how their behavior was, not that I’m a specialist, but I talked to some guys and they think they weren’t in that terrtorial mode.  The sharks were just cruising around and real mellow.  If I would have jumped in, I would have startled them and they would have taken off.  I don’t think that they would have suddenly turned around and come at me.”

Young Chuck
Young Chuck

But who knows, I sure as heck wouldn’t just hop in.  Where I was I felt totally fine and I was so intrigued with what I saw that the fear just went to the back of my head instead of worrying about anything.”


Yeah, he'spa
Yeah, Chuck’s a pro skier, too

I want to thank Chuck a ton for this interview.  Always fun catching up with you, buddy.  Have fun in Maui.  

(Chuck just got back from 2 weeks in Europe paddleboarding, chasing a big swell in Tahiti, a little California time and he’s just arrived in Maui for more surf.  Chuck is living the good life for the rest of us.  Thanks again, Chuck)


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