I don’t believe in sharks. That may sound strange, but it’s true. The same way other people don’t believe in gravity, unicorns, time, conspiracy theories, blue raspberries and magic — I don’t believe in sharks. So, this was a difficult story for me to cover. Austin Moore and Kelton Beardall were both bitten by sharks. Oddly enough, they happen to have a few things in common:
- They both got bit by sharks, which I already mentioned, but reminders are nice sometimes
- They both got bit on the leg
- They both surf
- They’re both from Jacksonville
- They both got bit in New Smyrna Beach, Florida – the famously dangerous shark bite capital of the world. This list is getting long, so I’ll just stop listing stuff and start filling you in on what this is all about.
Kelton is 15. I met with him at the poles one afternoon and took the picture you see here. At the time, he said he had a month left of physical therapy … I think that backside air revo looks like a good warm up for PT.
Austin is nine years old. He came to visit me at the office (I’ve been waiting my whole life to say that,) and he was the most frothing grom I’ve met in a while. He’s fearless and hilarious.
“I’ve searched for some info on shark bites, and if you get bit by a shark, you’re pretty much immune to another one … I hope that shark tells all the other sharks that I taste disgusting,” he said.
Kelton back in the water already. Austin is itching to get back out there. We can all agree with Joe Rogan when he said, “Fear is not a Factor.” (for these two.)
I know this issue is all about our sweet, sweet freedom, but these boys have an issue of their own. Remember that reminder earlier? Being sewn up after a shark came swimming around looking for a juicy grom leg to snack on can really put that whole sweet, sweet freedom concept into perspective.
The freedom to get permission from your mom to go surf is strangely out of the question. Normally when this happens, it’s because you’re in trouble, but in this situation, it’s as if the shark framed our two friends here, and they’re taking all the heat.
“NO SURF FOR YOU!”
The freedom to rock some dope Stance socks is only halfway available. Even though most stance socks don’t match, you can’t even not match because one leg has a friggin’ case around it … so no stock options is definitely a lost privilege.
The freedom to dance is also something taken for granted. I’m not saying it’s impossible to dance while suffering a severely injured leg — because I’ve seen some people on crutches dodder their way around the Ritz dance floor. Not that either of these young slayers will ever find themselves in such a place (at least not yet), but they may have missed a school dance (but let’s be honest, school dances usually suck anyways).
Now let’s all send our love and support to these two for getting back up when the sharks knocked them off the horse. Bad metaphors are a beautiful thing. On a real note, I want Kelton and Austin to know that I have a lot of respect for their ability to adapt and overcome at such a young age. I don’t know if you care what I think, but the Void crew and I are proud of you guys.