Amidst the summer splendor of 2023, the tranquil waters off the California coast have witnessed an unforeseen contest between marine officials and a spirited sea otter named 841. As the delightful antics of this playful surfboard-stealing otter raise eyebrows among beachgoers, surfers in Santa Cruz, California find themselves at the center of an unusual twist in their beloved surfing scene. Though at first glance, it appears to be a lighthearted and amusing spectacle, beneath the surface lies a bittersweet backstory.
The Free Spirit With a History
Otter 841’s journey begins with her mother, Otter 723. She was orphaned and raised in captivity. After being released back into the ocean, Otter 723’s interactions with people offering squid led to her seeking food from kayaks, ultimately leading to her recapture. Otter 723 gave birth to Otter 841 under the care of the Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center in Santa Cruz. The Monterey Bay Aquarium caretakers took extra precautions while releasing Otter 841 into the wild, ensuring the young otter was not influenced by human interactions.
A Quirky Surfboard Hijacker
Despite initial success, Otter 841’s interactions with surfers, kayakers, and paddle boarders have become a recurring issue in the past few summers. Videos on social media captured her bold surfboard-stealing antics, raising concerns among the public and authorities.
California Fish and Wildlife Service (CFWS) officials have taken the situation seriously due to potential public safety risks. While there’s no evidence of any malicious event, the fear of potential harm to humans has prompted efforts to capture and rehome the otter in a safer environment.
The Race Against Time
As the CFWS and Monterey Bay Aquarium work together in pursuit to recapture Otter 841, they aim to rehome her in a suitable habitat where she can thrive without posing risks to human safety.
If her interactions were to escalate and endanger humans, the state would be left with no choice but to take drastic measures.
For the very first time, skateboarding was an official Olympic event at the 2020 Tokyo Games. If it were any other sport, people would be celebrating; however, for the sport of skating, that wasn’t exactly the case. The organizers of the Tokyo games recommended that skateboarding should be added, and it all started with thousands of signatures on a petition delivered to the International Olympic Committee. After it became official, people had mixed feelings about the outcome.
The reason behind the mixed feelings, and mainly the disgust and headache, is that almost any skater will agree that skateboarding isn’t a sport, but instead, it’s a lifestyle, state of mind, and community. Through the years, skating has dealt with an outlaw reputation and skateboarders are even banned from skating freely in certain areas.
However, to other skaters, adding skateboarding to the Olympic games is a good step forward. Here’s why:
Growing the Platform for Skating Enthusiasts
A lot of the arguments against adding skateboarding to the games have come from men and spaces that are male-dominated. Over the years, men have always had a platform and the opportunity to express themselves through skating. That has been proved as they’ve dominated numerous magazine covers, secured sponsorships, competed in contests, and more, which women didn’t have a chance to do. With skateboarding in the Olympics, that has and will continue to change as more women and LGTBQ+ take on the sport.
More People Will Be Exposed to Skateboarding
Having skateboarding in the Olympics can introduce the sport to people who might now have been familiar with or have engaged with the sport in the past. It can help people creatively express themselves, overcome challenges, and build self-confidence.
Help to Change Its Reputation
Even though skating is popular in the United States, around the world, it doesn’t get the same praise. In Japan, skateboarding is considered to be dangerous and the people who skate are considered to be rebels.
By adding skateboarding to the Olympic games, it can change the way skating is viewed around the world and even shed light on how great of a sport it can be.