Mobbed by Sharks: SUP Surfing among the Black Tips with Rick Weeks

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If you live on the East coast, and you paddle, you probably know Rick Weeks. He’s a legend of sorts in New England. Gregarious, stoked, always traveling to or from the water, and an artful storyteller, Rick is well known from Florida to Massachusetts in the SUP surfing circuit. Check out his latest GoPro video from a surf session in Florida where Rick plays cat-and-mouse with several black tip sharks.

Legend of Rick Weeks: Surfing with Sharks

Here is what Rick says about his recent experience:

Tiny, clean waves were made more entertaining by a LOT of Black Tip sharks.
There are always sharks at this break, but normally they pay no attention to the surfers at all.I usually only see a few on any given day. Today was unusual. There were so many, plus I had one circling and following me as I took off on waves. Not sure if he was a Black Tip, so I kept an eye on him.

Black Tips are responsible for about 16% of all shark bites in Florida. They can be nasty bites, but not life threatening. Studying the Black Tips I see regularly in Florida, helps me understand shark behavior a bit better than what you hear in typical media hype. These sharks almost never show any interest in humans in the water.

As a result, I feel more comfortable surfing my home breaks on Cape Cod which has a stupid amount of Great Whites. There, they are hunting seals right in the surf zone. Don’t get me wrong, Great Whites are deadly as Hell, but I don’t see them as hunting me anymore so sessions are a tad more relaxing now.

The Black Tip sharks are really fun to watch in clear, shallow water. They were a lot more interesting than the surf.”  – Rick Weeks

Rick Weeks
Rick Weeks lives to tell the tale … again.

Check out when fellow New England pal, Cleveland Bigelow was attacked by a Great White while SUP surfing Cape Cod in 3 feet of water a few years back by clicking the blue link. What Rick says in his video about staying out of the white water is sage advice. Stay safe out there!


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Evelyn O'Doherty, editor & publisher of the new Standup Journal 2.0 is a former school teacher gone rogue. She left her career as a teacher in order to spend more time near or on the water after learning to surf turned her life around (upsidedown?). She is a year-round surfer and paddler living on the eastern tip of Long Island in NY who is a certified SUP instructor, seasoned SUP racer and avid longboard surfer. Evelyn was hired as Online Editor to Standup Journal in 2016. Her passion for the project quickly led to her success and eventually taking over the mag herself in Oct. 2018. Today, as editor, publisher and chief bottle washer at Standup Journal, Evelyn keeps her toes wet writing, traveling, paddling, surfing, and learning to foil. You can find her most days paddling out on Gardiner's Bay or surfing Ditch Plains in Montauk, NY.