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Shark Bites Surfer in the Face at Florida's Shark Bite Capital

Someone needs to teach that shark some manners.

By Cassidy Ward

The real horror behind Sharknado isn’t the sharks directly, it isn’t even that they get pulled into a tornado to torment the people of Los Angelas, it’s the simple fact that there are so many people and sharks inhabiting the same space. To find the closest thing we have in the real world, we need to travel across North America from L.A. to New Smyrna Beach, Florida, the so-called shark bite capital of the world.

At the time of writing, there have been fewer than 70 reported shark attacks around the world in 2023 and 7 of them have occurred in Volusia County, home of New Smyrna Beach. Fortunately, all shark bites in the area so far this year have been nonfatal. The Inlet at New Smyrna Beach is popular with sharks and surfers alike. The area creates consistently good waves and traps fish, offering a smooth ride to surfers and an easy meal to sharks. Sometimes, those two endeavors run headlong into one another.

Surfer Bitten in the Face at Florida Inlet

That’s what happened just before 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday September 12. A 38-year-old surfer from South Carolina was enjoying the early morning waves when he fell off his board and into the water. Witnesses reported the surfer coming into direct contact with a shark during the fall, resulting in a bite injury to the face, between the right ear and eye, according to WESH.

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The surfer apparently didn’t see the animal before, during, or after the attack, so it’s unclear what species of shark was involved in the incident. Though it may not matter much. Local authorities and beachgoers understand that sharks frequent the area, and they know the risks involved. Moreover, it seems that most attacks are the result of mistaken identity. You might accidentally bite someone too if they fell from above and landed on your face.

Emergency services responded to the beach and transported the bite victim to Halifax Health Trauma Center. As of Tuesday evening, the man had been released from the hospital, presumably with ongoing care instructions and the coolest scar story a person could hope for.

It’s likely that interactions between sharks and people will continue apace for the next couple of months as warm weather keeps sharks in the area and people in the water. Fortunately, most of those interactions don’t result in bites at all, and when they do, they are almost always nonfatal. Still, it’s a welcome reminder that any time we enter into the wild parts of the world, there is a nonzero chance we’re going to get bit. Fingers crossed sharks never actually learn to ride the wind.

Catch Sharknado: Hearth of Sharkness and Sharknado: Feeding Frenzy streaming now on Peacock!