On Sunday, October 3rd, a 38-year-old surfer, Eric Steinley, was attacked by a shark in Sonoma County.
This makes him the 39th victim of a shark attack in the USA this year. While waiting for the wave, the surfer had his feet in the water and felt something heavy grab around his foot.
The shark then dragged him into the water from his board. He injured his hand while pushing and trying to punch the shark away. Once he managed to free himself, he warned the other surfers of the shark’s presence.
Another surfer, Jared Davis, paddled back to the shore with Steinley and reassured him that everything would be okay. Once on shore, Davis helped the injured surfer by wrapping the surfboard strap around his leg.
The other surfers joined in the effort by calling 911 and getting a first aid kit. Shortly after, Stanley was treated by the medics and lifted in a chopper to the hospital in Santa Rosa.
Even though the shark attack left Steinley with a severed nerve in the leg. It can take up to a year to fully recover and get back on the surfboard.
Even with such a traumatic experience, Eric plans on surfing again.
Tips for Surviving a Shark Attack
If you were in a similar situation, would you know what to do?
We’ve all seen movies and shows where they tell you to punch the shark in between the eyes, but Eric tried to do that, and he missed.
Instead, his hand got scraped by the shark’s sharp teeth. So if you got attacked by a shark, what should you do?
Here are a few more tips:
- First, don’t panic (very hard for most of us)
- Don’t look at the bite/blood
- Make eye contact with the shark/show assertiveness
- Continue to face the shark and keep it in your line of sight
- Make yourself appear big
- Fight back if it’s attacking you by punching it in between the eyes, on the nose or gills, if you can get a clean punch
These are your basic tips for fighting a shark, but what about prevention?
Whenever you’re swimming or surfing in shark prone waters, try to be in a group. You want to have someone nearby to either help you or get help.
Also, two people fighting off a shark are better than one.
Another thing to remember is that sharks are just looking for food, and if you are sitting on a surfboard, you can look like a delicious seal.
Once a shark bites you, it usually realizes that you don’t taste as good as a seal, and it will leave you alone.
Other tips to remember include:
- Don’t wear shiny jewellery that will glisten and bring attention to you
- Don’t swim or surf early in the morning or at dusk
- Avoid the water if there is a visible shark swimming in it
- Avoid the water if you are bleeding
While shark attacks are less common than cow attacks (yes, you read that right!), we still fear them.
Remember, a shark attacks people because it’s hungry and we do crazy things when we are hangry too.
To learn more, check out these caught-on-camera shark attack videos to see how the people reacted in those situations.