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Back Into The Water

Updated: May 4, 2009, 1:08 PM ET
By Tom Friend
SOLANA BEACH, Calif. -- Other than the helicopters and the lifeguards and the coroner, he had eight miles of beach to himself that morning. The posted signs said, "Get Back!" and "Enter At Your Own Risk!" and "Shark Warning!" but he rushed past all of them to his father's reef.

As he knelt in the sand, the ocean spoke to him. He could hear his father's low, soothing voice, which made him break down and weep. He spoke back: I'm coming in. I'm coming in the water to see you. The shark's not going to win.

So that's how it happened. That's how a man decided to surf and swim in a reef that was off-limits, in a reef where his father, only 24 hours earlier, had lost his life.

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