Storytime! A surfer’s tail

So, since work is going nuts, and today may be patch 2.4 day or not, I am going to spare you any WoW related goodness. You’re probably more interested in finding out what the Shattered Sun Offensive is going to have of interest to you, anyway. Go read some news sites, I’ll wait.

I’ll give you one quick WoW update first: We downed High King last Saturday, and wiped on Gruul himself with me as main tank. Any advice you may have for pointers on what I should do would be appreciated. Also, Cassieann now has two new swords; Blinkstrike with Mongoose, and Latro’s Shifting Sword, which frankly both look awesome together. We also had our first and only Arena match so far. A Druid and Warlock team melted our faces. It was neat!

So, on to storytime.

I was stationed for a time in Camp Pendleton, California. It is a beautiful base, with many barracks located just a mile or two off some gorgeous beachfront, isolated beachfront that is only truly accessible to Marines and their families.

At the time, I was single and had recently returned from Okinawa, where I had caught the windsurfing bug.

Well, living practically ON the southern California beach proved to be an irresistible temptation. I purchased a nice longboard, the typical “I ain’t a seal, please don’t eat me” quarter wetsuit, and dove into the surfing and vollyball life with most of my free time.

Of course, this was back in the days when my other recreations were pen and paper role playing games, reading books and doing martial arts. Good times. Good times.

Anyway, what with there only being so many hours in the day, and being a Sergeant, I had quite a few responsibilities once the day got rolling, so I would start each day by getting up super damn early, throwing on my surfing gear and grabbing my board, and jogging the two miles to the beach to get in an hour of surfing. Then I’d head back to the barracks, and get ready and clean the room and yadda yadda yadda.

Now, I did NOT have the beach to myself. I can’t really remember the beach ever being deserted. There may have been very few folks, but there was always someone. It’s not like I was lone surfer dude. On the other hand, I never cared if there was someone there, and I certainly never gave much thought to what would happen if I encountered trouble.

Muscle cramps are things that happen to other people. I never, ever gave a thought to my own body betraying me with muscle cramps or things like that, any of which can make swimming incredibly difficult when tired, things which I now know can be fairly common and potentially deadly. 

No, my only thoughts of care were reserved for potential external threats. Like sharks. I hate the deep water, because my folks oh so graciously took me to see Jaws on the big screen when it came out in theaters.

I just looked it up on The year Jaws came out was 1975. I was 6 and a quarter years old.

It had a powerful effect on me.

I was afraid to go into the swimming pool as a child after that, because I couldn’t see what might be lurking in the deep end. Yes, a land locked chlorinated swimming pool.

What do people like me do when deeply afraid of something? We overcompensate, of course. Afraid of heights cause you fell out of a tree and broke bones when you were 5? Go mountain climbing and skydiving.

Afraid of sharks as a child? Go scuba diving, spearfishing, and surfing whenever possible.

Sadly, I have never noticed the fear going away entirely. It’s still a conscious decision to beat back the fear every time. Pisses me off, especially when I know how irrational it is. But while I’m certainly fine in swimming pools now, there is still that twinge of fear in the deep ocean. Or balanced on top of a tall ladder or walking on the edge of the roof of a house. Damnitall.

So getting back to the fun, I would go out surfing early every morning, and I’d play volleyball on the weekends and surf some more. Lots of fun. I highly recommend it for everyone.

On one particular morning, I jogged onto the beach, slipped off my tasteful jogging shoes (what we call ‘go fasters’… don’t ask) with the worn out holes over the toes, strapped my board to my leg, and ran high stepping into the surf.

And every single surfer out there just read that line, and said to themselves, “Oh you stupid shit….”

I got about 5 steps into the surf, when I felt a sharp cut on the sole/side of my right foot. And it was accompanied by a tugging sensation. My first thought was I’d stepped on a nurse shark.

I stopped and lifted my foot out of the water and raised it to look… and there in the side of my foot was a nice deep triangular cut oozing blood.

So, definitely not a nurse shark, wrong wound pattern. More likely, I’d just stepped on a piece of broken glass hidden in the surf line.

So, pissed that I was now gonna have to miss my surfing, and have to jog back to the barracks to get the damn wound cleaned and bandaged, and thinking about how my best shot for running PT that day would be to double layer my socks to pad it, I trudged back on shore.

I walked on the sand, I bent over to grab my shoes, and that is when the venom hit.

As experienced surfers know, stingrays like to swim low to the bottom, disturb the sand, and then settle down flat and wait to sniff food. They are very non-aggressive, they are gentle and will almost never, ever hurt you. EXCEPT when dumbasses step on them.

If you simply shuffle your feet through the sand as you move into the surf, it scares any stingrays away.

So experienced surfers shuffle into the water. They don’t high step into it slamming their damn fool feet down to make good time and a big splash.

Now, I stepped on a stingray that was on the bottom. The tugging feeling was him jerking out from under my foot, and the sting was his stinger nailing my foot.

Now, taking a stinger to the foot is a long ways away from what happened to Steve Irwin. He got nailed right in the heart, and there are some who think that it wasn’t the venom at all that did him in, it was physical damage from the stinger that actually killed him. I liked Steve a lot from his TV shows, and no matter which it was, it was a terrible thing to have happen to him.

For myself, all I can tell you is, the stinger hurt very little. The temperature of the water just made the pain unnoticeable. It was an annoyance.

Ah, but that venom. That truly sucked.

I went into pain-wracked convulsions, I was shivering, I was contorted up and quite unable to walk. I just kind of huddled up on the beach.

At this point, some of the other surfers on the beach came running over, and I got them to go to the barracks and get my buddy and roommate Don Franklin, who had a pickup, to come get my ass and take me to the sickbay.

And let me tell you something, I was swearing at the pain the whole way to sickbay. It well and truly sucked. You want to be macho? Try sucking it up and being stoic when the venom is hitting your system. God, that hurt.

I got to sickbay, the corpsman took a look at my foot, grabbed a scalpel and dug around in there and pulled out pieces of stinger that had broken off in my foot. I didn’t even feel him digging around. Then he looked at me, and said something like “You’ll be fine, the venom will wear off in a few hours. Here, take some aspirin.”

You think Marines are hardcore? Navy corpsmen are the real hardcore bastards. And I salute you! Yes I do.

I wish I could say that there is a moral of the story. Maybe, “Always take a swim buddy.” Or, “shuffle your feet in the water, dumbass”. Or even, “We need a bigger boat.”

All I know is, damn that hurt. But it made a neat scar, and gave me a fun story I get to share with you!

Have a great day, folks.


12 thoughts on “Storytime! A surfer’s tail

  1. For Gruul’s heres what I think you need to do. Firstly even though a druid makes for a good tank as always, they shine as the sponge tanks against Gruul. As he grows his hurtful strikes hit harder and at a point will start one-shotting the other melee. A bear tank with his inherent higher HP and high dodge can survive the extremely heavy hitting hrtful strikes and quite often dodge them completely. Also a bear tank can easily stay second in threat, infact the rage from the hurtful strikes are enough for me to surpass the main tanks….easily, so make sure you don’t. Now you will need a minimum of 3 tanks for the strategy we use. 1 well geared warrior main tank, 1 well geared feral sponge tank(you) and 1 warrior intervene tank. The intervene tanks main job is to remain as close in threat as he can to the other 2 tanks, and every now and then intervene on the main tank making the healers job a lot easier along with building rage to keep his threat high. When Gruul does his ground slam, both the MT and OT charge right back in, no one besides these 2 tanks should be there. This allows the tanks to survive the first couple of blows from Gruul(since the damage they take is minimal) while the healers recover. The warrior main tank is likely to die during the last 15-20% of the fight and the druid tank will take over, by now Gruul will be hitting really hard and the intervene tank needs to stop intervening since he is now the sponge tank and he won’t survive the beating. At around 10% I usually blow my badge of tenacity and at 5% my moroes pocket watch, as long as you have enough dps alive you should be able to make it. As for the dps they need to find themselves good cubbyholes as well as stay away from each other. So if you have decently geared warrior tanks….don’t main tank imo.


  2. Now Argonaut, I ahve no problem being the offtank, absorbing the hurtful strikes. Sounds like something I can plan for.

    But in your opinion, which capabilities of the warrior tank make them the best choice for main tanking this boss? I’d honestly like to know, so that I can understand what our main tank will have to do.


  3. I have no thoughts on the Gruul fight – I’m a resto type adn haven’t gotten that far yet. However, I can tell you that while boogie boarding in Diego Garcia (the Footprint of Freedom, look it up) while on deployment I was stung by a Portuguese Man of War. It didn’t really hurt until i got out of the water and then it stung like crazy. The Corpsman threw some meat tenderizer on it and gave me a shot of something he pulled from under the counter – apparently this happens a lot. But you are right, you don’t want to bawl like a baby, we’re tough – but damn that hurt.


  4. I usually OT gruul as a bear, but I have MT it as well with no problem. Others are right, we really shine as OT, cause we can keep the threat up high while OT, and can eat the strikes.

    Good MT/OT bear tips for gruul :

    Bind bear form and feral charge to keys, as well as barkskin. When you get tossed out in the air, barkskin (you can do this midair!) then when you land, bear, and feral charge gruul.

    This has several effects. 1) 20% less damage, 2) back in range of gruul to re-establish agro right away, 3) feral charge brings you to the middle of the room, everyone else is spreading out around the edges as fast as they can. This helps get you away from your healers so the shatter doesn’t kill them.

    sometimes I wait on the feral charge until after the shatter, because gruul keeps moving when you are completely frozen. That way you are guaranteed to be in range right after. But both methods work.

    Tree/moonkin druids should definitely barkskin every shatter too, and if they have spare mana, can even go to bear to give them more HP and help reduce the chances of dying to shatter.

    General MT/OT strat : make sure you are moving out of the rockfall, it will help your healers out a lot.

    As for why warrior is better MT, there is no reason (Other than normal access to oh-shit buttons). Druid is just as good of a MT on this fight. However, warrior make a much WORSE OT than a druid does, because they can’t keep up the threat as high when they aren’t getting hit regularly.

    My tanking suggestions above are identical as MT or OT. Just make sure you don’t pull agro from the Mt (which I do regularly, especially at the start, with a well/poorly timed crit on the opening maul&mangle)


  5. 1.)A warrior will be able to remove crushing blows entirely and therefore the spike damage will be far less not to mention O-shit options like last stand.

    2.)A warrior OT relies more on getting hit to generate rage, a druid OT with 2 pc T4 will have very few issues with threat generation and hence stay second in aggro. And besides druids crit a lot more than equally geared warrior tanks and hence will have little to no rage problems. If I do, I go and stand under a cave in for one tick (don’t tell your healers that, they may hate you for it).

    3.) Lastly and most importantly and also why druids make excellent off-tanks. The Hurtful Strike cannot crit, and cannot be a crushing blow, so all the OT needs is armor, health, and threat generation. Druids don’t have to rely on getting hit to generate rage like warriors do, and their typical gear will give them very high dodge as well.

    There you have it, the reasons you should OT. I have tanked Gruul for the last 40%, arguably much harder than the first 60% and lived, therefore I feel that you can easily main tank gruul, but your raid would be so much better served with you as the OT.


  6. Regarding crushing blows : At face value what Argonaut says is true. Warriors can push crushing blows off their hit table. However, what this neglects is mitigation. I get crushed for less than a warrior gets hit normal. My normal hits are (obviously) even less than that.

    This none the less does not change the part that argo and I agree on. Nothing stops you from succesfully main tanking this fight, but you will be more helpful as an OT.


  7. Heh I had the same fear of swimming pools and I still don’t like them. Though I was older when I saw the movie (and wasn’t born yet when Jaws came out) it had a profound effect on me. I simply won’t go into the ocean.


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