This week’s Pacifica shark attack on a kayaker whose vessel was literally chomped by a great white shark struck fear into ocean dwelling humans across America — but are a rising number of shark attacks a legitimate concern for swimmers and surfers?
The Pacifica shark attack happened about 100 yards off Pedro Point in Pacifica, and kayaker Micah Flansburg described a terrifying sudden run-in with a snapping, biting, hungry shark.
Ross Webber, the Pacifica shark attack victim‘s father-in-law, recalls the younger man’s alarm when the shark leaped out of the surf and went looking for lunch. In a kayak.
Webber told press that his son-in-law panicked as we all might in such a circumstance, saying:
“Yeah, it was a lot if religious stuff, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God! … He was riding like a bull and keeping his balance and I was like, ‘Go for it! Don’t fall in the water!’ ”
Webber, who was 10 feet away in a separate kayak, was not bothered by the hungry shark looking for a fast food stop on the water, but Flansburg said the sheer force of the attack nearly sent him into the surf:
“I had my paddle on my lap, and my fishing pole and a bottle of home brew. The next thing I know, every single thing I had went flying in the air, it hit me so hard.”
Sharks are out there, for sure, and the Pacifica shark attack is a reminder that they can in fact attack humans — but is it a big concern for summer surfers as the season gets underway?
CS Monitor reports that there were 80 shark attacks in 2012, seven of which resulted in a fatality. Eighty sounds like a lot, but the site adds:
“In the event of a shark attack, scientists at The Florida Museum of Natural History recommend an aggressive response, like hitting its snout or clawing at its eyes or gills … But that’s a tip we’re unlikely to ever need to use. The odds of becoming a shark attack victim, based on beach attendance rates in the US, is about one in 11.5 million. The odds of dying in an attack are about 0 in 264.1 million – or, about nil.”
So while the Pacifica shark attack was indeed pretty brazen and scary, you should also know that you’re likelier to win a Powerball — and, sadly, that’s also still pretty unlikely.