Man has always tried to will his ways upon the Earth. We’ve done it since the original Neolithic creatures first walked this planet. As surfers, we harness the power of Mother Nature and use it for our pleasure. But we alter it none (unless the Army Corps of Engineers is performing one of their awesomely helpful dredging projects in your town, which usually have to happen over and over again if they’ve done it once). It is the power of the ocean and it’s storms which is the basis for a majority of our fun, the billions of dollars the surf industry generates each year, and the very job and life I have.

On the evening of April 20th, 2010 the landscape of our oceans were changed forever. In the dark waters of the Gulf of Mexico a disaster was billowing up on the Deepwater Horizon’s oilrig at the Macondo well. Nine minutes after mud began overflowing onto the drilling room floor an explosion of gaseous proportions lit up the dark night Gulf sky, shooting a fireball hundreds of feet high, yellow and orange reflecting off the oily water and then consuming it. Eleven people lost their lives; the deceased being Jason Anderson, Aaron Dale Burkeen, Donald Clark, Stephen Ray Curtis, Roy Wyatt Kemp, Karl Kleppinger, Gordon Lewis Jones, Keith Blair Manuel, Dewey Allen Revette, Shane Michael Roshto, Adam Weise.

So whose to blame for these eleven lives, the 6,800 dead animals (known deaths), the near 5-million barrels of black gold that gushed into the ocean killing tourism and fishing industries? Sure, we could point the finger at BP executives whose bonuses were heavily based on saving money and beating deadlines, and overlooking a crippled blowout preventer that was poorly maintained and way past due for inspection.


Sure, we could blame the United States government whose deceased Minerals Management Service was supposed to keep watch on drilling projects and set industry regulations, but who so often approved risky projects for a piece of the pie by keeping regulations to a minimum.

Or we could blame ourselves, the human race, for the world’s largest environmental disaster ever. In a country that uses a quarter of the world’s oil, yet only controls 3-percent of it’s known reserves, we are the archetype for needing that black gold coursing through our societal veins to actually function. The multiple fail-safe emergency systems that would have triggered the master emergency shutdown on the fateful rig were all designed to be activated solely by human judgment. And since they were never activated, we are led to believe that once again humans are at the whim of Mother Nature.

Drilling rapidly into a highly pressurized reservoir of gas and oil miles and miles underneath tons of Gulf ocean water is going to cause problems—that’s why the Obama administration recently banned any new offshore deepwater drilling projects until further research can be completed. Just think about it: drilling in an unstable environment and having to snake down to the ocean floor in itself is problematic. Then add to that trying to drill deep down into the ocean floor’s reservoirs? It’s just a recipe for disaster.

Globs and globs of the black gold are still buried in the sandy shores off the Gulf Coast. We’ll be finding them like the relics of a foregone society for years and years. The ocean floor was not meant to be drilled—just like the Trestles creek was not meant to be damned for a Toll Road. We can only play the odds of overpowering the ocean for so long. It kicked us in the ass this time and we’ll be paying for it for years to come. But lets not think that we can overpower her again, because if we think that, she’s going to thump that 100-year storm right on our multi-million dollar oceanview homes.

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