It is not unusual for people to have a fear of the deep sea, even for surfers. There is so much not explored of the ocean and what we have discovered is known to be dangerous if come across.
The one predator who everyone fears the most is the shark, for many don’t know where they lurk and if you are spotted by one, there is a high risk of severe injury or even fatality.
But despite there being sharks, that does not stop the surfer. Surfing is not only a fun sport, but it is safe too. As a surfer, you should not be afraid of a shark encounter, especially because shark sightings are pretty rare.
However, that does not mean that you shouldn’t be cautious. As a surfer who is constantly in the water, you need to be prepared for anything, even a potential shark attack.
What To Do If You Spot A Shark While Surfing
Spotting a shark in the water is extremely rare, but the potential threat alone is enough to make people uncomfortable.
Whilst surfers openly choose to spend the majority of their time surfing the waves in the ocean, this is not to say that they are not aware of the risks.
Surfers choose this activity because it is fun, great exercise, and allows for a great adrenaline rush, but they should still educate themselves on the dangers.
Although rare, it is still possible to see a shark whilst out in the open water. If this happens to you, do not panic. There are some simple steps that you should go through if you ever encounter a shark whilst surfing.
Spotting A Shark
If you are lucky, then you would have spotted a shark before a shark has spotted you. If this is the case, it is very important to stay calm as to not arouse its attention.
In this situation, you should stay calm and shout loudly to others in the water/on the beach. This will be to warn others. After you have done so, quickly leave the water and get to shore immediately. Make sure that others are getting to shore immediately as well.
You Cannot Leave The Water
In some cases, you may find that you can’t leave the water. This could be for a number of reasons, such as the shark being too close to risk you retreating or having an injury that makes it hard for you to flee.
Whatever the case, it is very important to stay completely quiet at this moment. You will want to shout and scream, but this will only make things worse.
Instead, hold it in and stay completely still and silent. Never remove your eyes from the shark and watch its movements carefully. You will find that it is lingering for a moment but eventually it will retreat.
When it has done, take this opportunity to get back to shore as fast as you can. If you were not to, the shark would have circled back and hit you and your surfboard at a fast speed.
The Shark Is Circling You
A shark circling is one of the most frightening things that can happen, especially because this never usually ends up good from what we see on TV.
But this is real life, so you have to act accordingly in this real life situation. If you are sitting on your surfboard and you are being circled by a shark/your surfboard is purposefully bumped by it, this means that the shark knows you are there and has the intention of attacking.
At this point, you are in danger, so there is only one thing you can do – attack. If you have anything on you that you can use as a weapon, use it to hit the shark in the gills and eyes with full force.
If you don’t have anything you can use, you will have to use your hands and feet. Don’t give up until the shark has.
If you strike enough with enough force, the shark will eventually give up and leave, allowing you to swim back to shore as quickly and immediately as possible.
You Are Grabbed
The worst case scenario is that you are grabbed by the shark with its mouth. At this point, many will have given up and accepted their fate as they don’t know there is anything else they can do.
But if you want to survive this, you will have to fight. Even with your arm, leg, side, wherever it may be, in its mouth, take the opportunity whilst you can to hurt the shark with any free limb – always aim for the eyes and gills.
Do not stop moving because if the shark thinks you are dead, it will try to swallow you. Make as much commotion and movement as you can using all of your strength until you are able to get free. You would have sustained injury, but at least you are alive.
Tips For Surfers – How To Avoid A Shark Attack
As someone who is always in the water, whether that be leisurely or professionally, it is important to know how to avoid sharks altogether. By following these tips, you will feel much safer on the water.
Painting Eyes On Your Surfboard
One great method to deter sharks is to paint giant eyes on the bottom of your surfboard. By doing so, if a shark was to approach then they would see these eyes as a predator and a threat.
Do Not Stand Out
You also want to make sure that you are not wearing anything bright, reflective, or eye-catching. Do not stand out as this will only draw in more attention than you need.
For surfers, it is normal to sit casually on your board whilst you wait for ways. Although in most instances this is okay, to be safe it is better to keep changing directions instead of waiting in one spot.
By doing so, a shark will see you are a predator rather than prey and will be less likely to attack.
Although shark attacks are rare, it is still important to know how to stay safe as a surfer. By following the points presented above you will feel much more comfortable in the water and safe from threat.