Introduction

It is an unfortunate reality that surfers will, on rare occasions, encounter sharks. This does not happen very often, and most people will not have to worry about dealing with this situation. However, it is still worth knowing what do to as it can be potentially life saving.

Sharks do not attack humans on purpose. They are usually provoked or mistake the person for a seal. This is especially true for surfers. The shadow of their boards looks like a sharks natural prey.

The sharks that most often attack surfers are the Great White, Tiger, Oceanic Whitetip and Bull shark. Climate change and human activity has unfortunately led to some surfing spots becoming new temporary hubs for these predators. This has led to the number of incidents rising each decade.

Surviving an Encounter

If a surfer feels something brush up against them or bump them it is recommend leaving the water immediately. A small bite might not be felt by a person. The blood from this can make the shark return.

When a shark is spotted it is important to stay calm. If other people are in the water, they should be warned. It might be tempting to scare off the shark, but this is not a good idea. Instead, the best option is to escape in an unexcited fashion.

If the surfer can not leave the water, then they should keep as still and quiet as possible. They need to keep their eyes on the shark. These creatures tend to retreat from prey and encircle they. When they do this, they may strike at the surfer. Someone in this situation should be prepared to defend themselves.

The surf board can be used as both a weapon and a shield. As the shark is biting the board, the human can use their hands and feet to attack. The eyes and gills are the most vulnerable parts of the animal. The surfer should hit these as hard as they can in fast, sharp jabs. This should be repeated until the shark leaves.

You can tell when a shark might be going in to attack if they are swimming at you in a zig-zagging motion. In this event it is imperative to defend yourself. If the shark manages to get you in its mouth you can use your free limbs to latch onto its muzzle. This will prevent thrashing. Escaping its clutches is imperative. Playing dead will not work.

When a surfer has freed themselves, the next step is to get back to the shore quickly. Once on dry land the priority is on preventing any blood loss. This can be done by applying pressure to the injured area. An ambulance will then need to be called.