Champion surfer Mick Fanning was unhurt by the shark, but how scary is this video? And what is going on with sharks this year?
This took place during live competition in South Africa. That is a big shark. Yikes.
This is excerpted from Surfer Today's article "How to survive a shark attack". I've left out all the more commonly known stuff about avoiding dawn/dusk, muddy water, bleeding in the water etc. Particularly to the point is the bit on "If the shark grabs you with its mouth". Are you feelin' me, homeboys?
If something brushes or bumps you underwater
Leave the water straight away to investigate. Minor bites in water are often not felt when they occur, and bleeding into the water can entice a shark back for more.
If you spot a shark
Stay cool, but shout loudly to warn others in the area. Don't antagonize or try to scare the shark away. Leave the water as quickly and unexcitedly as possible.
If you can't leave the water
Be very still and stay quiet. Keep your eyes on the shark as it swims. Sharks often retreat from prey, then circle back to gain speed and strike. Get out of the water as soon as it's safe to do so.
If you are diving and are approached by a shark
As above, stay very still. If you are holding any fish or catches, release them, then swim to safety when possible.
If you are circled or bumped
Circling and bumping mean the shark is either curious or intent on attacking. In either case, you should assume you are in imminent danger and be prepared to defend yourself.
Use anything you are carrying as a weapon, as a last resort utilizing hands and feet. Strike at the sensitive gills and eyes with repeated, short, sharp jabs. Be relentless. Hit as hard as you possibly can until the shark gives up and leaves.
If the shark swims toward you in a zig-zag motion
Back up against something - or someone - solid. Defend yourself as above. Don't give up until the shark does.
If the shark grabs you with its mouth
Be as hostile and vicious as possible. Latch onto the muzzle of the shark with any free limbs to avoid being thrashed. Then claw, kick, elbow, and generally endeavour to injure the eyes and gills. Do not play dead. The shark will simply attempt to swallow its catch.
Get to shore as calmly and quickly as possible, instructing anyone nearby to ring for an ambulance. If you have a bite and are able to apply pressure to the wound, do so right away, while leaving the water, to minimize blood loss.
If you see someone has been bitten
1. Help the victim to shore and keep them warm by wrapping them in the nearest available towel or cloth.
2. Apply pressure directly to wounds with any available cloth or fabric. If blood soaks through, do not remove the original cloth; simply add more as needed. Apply force also to pressure points directly between the injury and the heart. Common pressure points include the groin area, above the elbow, and behind the knee.
3. If pressure points do not slow the bleeding, and medical help is not immediately available, a tourniquet may be the solution. Wrap the wound in a stretchy fabric as tightly as possible, and insert a stick or rigid pole between the bandage and skin. Twist to tighten until blood flow slows considerably or stops. Use this measure only under extreme circumstances, where no other choice is available.
4. Elevate the bleeding limb to a position above the heart; if possible, at least 12 inches.
5. Keep the victim still. If a limb appears disfigured, or broken bones are suspected, leave the limb in place. If possible, pad with soft material, applying ice to the outside of the pad.
6. If shock is suspected, treat appropriately: call 911 or your local emergency number, lay the person down, begin CPR if necessary, and don't let him/her eat or drink anything.
While shark encounters are no doubt on the rise, attacks resulting in death or injury are still exceedingly rare.
Mary Lee has left the building. Or the coast of Long Island, which is good enough for me. When we last reported on the lovely 3,500 pound great white shark, she was idling away the hours off of Gilgo, whilst anything with a brain larger than a peppercorn kept its distance. But now Mary has headed down to Chincoteague, perhaps in search of horse meat. If you check out Ocearch's excellent shark tracker, you'll see that Mary Lee spent some special time just north of Seaside Heights. Good eats in Jersey?
The only people I want to hear telling me that sharks are beautiful creatures that pose no danger to humans are windsurfers and SUPpers who have had a shark display interest in them while out on the water. Happened to me once, and it sucked. No fun at all. Yet sharks have as much a right to live as deer ticks and mosquitos and cockroaches, and thanks to the good people at OCEARCH (who research and track apex predators de la mar) we know that a 3,500 pound great white shark, 16 feet long going by the nom de fish Mary Lee is currently cruising off of Democrat Point, eating whatever the hell she pleases and taking no shit from anybody. Mary Lee is tagged and wearing a microphone, so both her position and dialog can be tracked. Her position is the more interesting, as the dialog varies little:
Mary Lee: "Get the f*** out of my way."
Everyone else: "Okay."
(Maps: Mary Lee's track from awhile back. Note the visit to the middle of Long Island in the past. Right now Pete Roesch says she's off of Robert Moses Park, with a Superlight stuck between her teeth.)
Me, Jonathan Ford and a few dozen surfers (K finally got crowded) enjoyed 4-6 (and sometimes 5-7) foot lefts and rights. Oftentimes one had to bail out when what looked like a promising shoulder became le big closeout crunch-to-be, but those waves that held were fast and fun. Sah wheat.
(This shark was the only person or fish not having fun at K Road yesterday. Photo by Jonathan.)
Shark Week is coming on the Discovery Channel (25th anniversary!) and it's as good a thing to think about as the wind I'm missing today (of course it blows mid-week!) There's a whole bunch of good shark videos and more on this Shark Week post at scubadiving.com. In particular check out the "Be careful reaching for that fish" clip.
And of course there is the story of my own shark encounter a few years ago. That was enough live shark for me for a lifetime. Better to enjoy from the safety of a digital device!
I need a few new T-shirts. My once mighty collection of wind and water-related T-shirts was assembled 8-15 years ago, and it’s gone from “new and great” to “nicely worn in and great” to “old classics and great” and then lately “into the rag bag”. Ravaged by time, as it were.
So imagine my excitement when the fashion editor of the Peconic Puffin was approached by Rapanui, a mega-green pro-nature organic low carbon footprint solar and wind powered (get the picture?) manufacturer of (amongst other things) t shirts. They’re about being kind to seeds and sustainability and surfing and the oceans, and they reached out to see if we’d be interested in mentioning their wind and wave and critter-friendly products in the blog. They have a “Save Our Seas” t-shirt (half the profits from it go to the UK’s Marine Conservation Society) so I asked for a review shirt. Clever me! Or so I thought.
It’s a shark shirt. Sharks. Why’d it have to be sharks? I dislike sharks. I’ve never met one I liked. They have a right to exist, certainly, can they please exist far away from me? No, now I have sharks in my dresser drawer. Upon closer inspection they’re not really sharks, but the shape of sharks filled with fish and octopi and crabs and rays and seaweed and so forth. All good stuff I’m happy to windsurf or SUP around. Therefore okay I like the shirt. 100% organic cotton, hand printed, Fairwear Foundation audited, with an A ecolabel.