A man was surfing with a group at Salmon Creek Beach Sunday morning when a shark — likely a great white — bit him on the thigh. Members of the group were able to safely get him to shore before first responders took the thirtysomething to a nearby hospital.
Sharks have much more reason to be afraid of us humans than we do of them. For roughly every recorded shark attack in the world, human beings kill about 1.45 million sharks. (About 100 million sharks are killed each year mostly for their cartilaginous fins; there have been 69 shark attacks documented this year; 7 of those incidents later proved fatal and 5 attacks were provoked.)
Being apex predators of their oceanic realms, bipedal mammals offer easy prey as a last resort. Or are often mistaken for something else — seal lions, large fish, etc. — when these apes are atop a surfboard or inside a kayak when seen from below. Whether this attack was accidental or not, a NorCal surfer was severely bitten by a shark Sunday around 9 a.m..
As reported by the Bay Area News Group, after the surfer was attacked and brought back to shore, a tourniquet was promptly applied before a California Highway Patrol (CHP) helicopter flew him to a hospital in Santa Rosa. CHP described the man's wounds as critical, officials said.
The man, however, is expected to survive.
Per the news group, a study published by Stanford scientists circa 2015 found that surfers have about a 1-in-17 million risk of being attacked by a great white shark off California — the species responsible for 176 of the 198 shark "incidents" recorded by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. By comparison, the annual risk of being killed in a plane crash for the average American is about 1-in-11 million.
In May of 2020, a shark believed to be a great white 10 to 12 feet long fatally bit 26-year-old surfer Ben Kelly at a beach just south of Santa Cruz — eight years after the last fatal shark attack was recorded in California.
Photo: Getty Images/andythirlwell