Surfing alone at dusk may feel a little eerie. It is time to finish your session if you do not want to experience someone’s sudden attack. Well, maybe after one more wave…
But you are actually alone in the water, and there are no people around to protect you from such an attack. Even lifeguards left their towers.
No one to lend a hand if you get in trouble in the water. Your surroundings get darker and it is harder to see something.
At this point, your mind may start playing tricks at you. It is perfectly natural to see a danger in every odd shape in the water around — it is an ancient survival instinct.
Who can tell now if this fin belongs to a playful dolphin or some shark that may attack you? After all, it is the time for sharks to prowl, hunt, and feed in dark waters.
So, it will not take you much time to consider getting back on shore while hoping for a good wave to give you a boost.
The paranoid fear of shark attacks prevents some people from even getting close to the water and can easily creep into a surfer’s mind.
Of course, there is no need to worry so much since we encounter much greater risks in our daily lives. In fact, the chance to be killed by lightning on the ground is much greater than to be eaten alive by a shark in the water.
There are even more common ways to die: getting hit by a car, contracting rabies from a mad dog or rat, anaphylactic shock from a stray peanut; but no — we are afraid of shark attacks so much that we are not going to swim in the sea waters, let alone grab a surfboard and get into the water with it.
At least, that is an excuse for people who are not so sure about their skills. But there is always a bright side — there is more space for more experienced surfers when the water around is just clear for them.
Let us check HowStuffWorks and consult with a scientist.
Jeff Rosenthal, Toronto University Professor, says that your odds against a shark attack are 1:9,000,000. Statistically, this means less than one attack victim a year nationwide.
And it is about all attacks in water, both lethal and non-lethal.
As for the lethal ones, it is 1:400,000,000. In this regard, the most dangerous waters on Earth are near the coast of Florida: 50% of all the shark attacks in the world happen there; your odds for such attacks are 1:430,000 and 1:36,000,000 for getting killed.
- 1 How to Sneak Past a Shark to Avoid the Attack
- 1.1 No riding in the dark waters
- 1.2 To be warned is to be armed
- 1.3 Safety in numbers
- 1.4 Rivers and channels are not safe
- 1.5 Avoid any clothes that make you look like a fish
- 1.6 Not a single drop of blood in the water
- 1.7 Avoid anything dead in the water
- 1.8 Fishermen attract sharks too
- 1.9 Do not splash too much
- 1.10 Drop-offs and sandbars
- 1.11 Trust your sight
- 2 Your Worst Nightmare Comes True and the Shark Attacks — What Now?
How to Sneak Past a Shark to Avoid the Attack
No riding in the dark waters
From dusk till dawn — this is the time sharks are most active in the water and often attack their prey.
They cannot rely on their sight in the dark water too, so the chances are that you may be mistaken for their usual prey when the water is dark.
To be warned is to be armed
Look for the signs and flags lifeguards hang out nearby the water edge. Sharks cannot be spotted from far away in the water, and it is a very bad idea to ignore the signs.
Safety in numbers
Sharks are less likely to attack someone within a group.
They would prefer a lone prey lost in the water.
Rivers and channels are not safe
River mouths and narrow channels attract much fish. And sharks may also leave the ocean for a quick hunt in shallow waters.
It gets even worse after a rain because the water gets murky, and this means it is hard for sharks to sort out their prey.
Avoid any clothes that make you look like a fish
Anything shiny can look like fish scales from below the water surface. This also goes for bright and high-contrast suits.
Sharks may be colorblind, but they will not hesitate to attack a big shiny striped surfer fish.
Not a single drop of blood in the water
Just a tiny drop in the water around may attract sharks from a mile away and even farther.
What is more, they can track this drop of blood back to its owner.
Got a cut? Get out of the water!
Menstruating female? Stay out of the water!
Avoid anything dead in the water
A floating carcass in the water may mean a feast for sharks. So, if you see dead fish or animals, make sure to get away as quickly as possible to avoid a sudden attack.
Fishermen attract sharks too
They use lots of bait to attract lots of fish. With fish, come sharks.
Raw sewage also attracts fish, and sharks follow it to attack.
Do not splash too much
Swift movements and splashing get sharks’ attention. They may mistake you for wounded prey and attack.
Sharks can literally sense fear, so stay calm for whatever it takes.
Drop-offs and sandbars
Although very popular with surfers, places like these are also cozy hunting grounds for sharks where they can attack immediately.
Trust your sight
No wave is worth losing your life to a shark. It may be a false alarm but it can also mean the difference between life and death.
Your Worst Nightmare Comes True and the Shark Attacks — What Now?
Be still in the water to stay alive
Easier said than done but it is vital. Predatory senses are superb, and fear has its intoxicating scent.
If sharks smell fear, they may instantly attack.
You need every second of calmness at your disposal in order to produce an escape plan before the predator attacks you. You have no chance to “outrun” a monster in the ocean.
Stay still, and the deadly hunter may just refuse to attack and go away.
Fight for your life
You will not be able to fully protect your body from the attack but, most importantly, do not outstretch your hands. Try to get your front and sides covered.
Now your surfboard is your greatest weapon, try to utilize it as a shield against the attack.
You cannot hope to really hurt a shark, but be ready to attack its sensitive spots — nose, gills or eyes.
Do not play dead with sharks
It does not work with sharks that intend to attack you, they will be glad to chew on a still body — less energy spent on an attack and kill.
When grabbed, the attack is your best defense. Strike the attacker as fiercely as you can.
Remember its weak spots: eyes, gills, and nose.
Get out of the water
Usually, sharks realize that they have grabbed the wrong meal, especially when it resists their attack so violently.
Human beings are not as tasty to them as we tend to think, so as a rule, sharks let their victims go.
The problem is getting out of the water now. Lethal outcomes mostly are not from being eaten alive, it is the initial injury from the first attack that seals the deal.
So, it is vital to get back onshore and stop the bleeding.
Call for help
Seek medical attention, there is no time to waste.
Now that you know that chances of drowning in your own tub are much greater than those of being devoured by a bunch of homicidal monsters, get to the beach and have some fun surfing!