A 16-year-old surfer is on the mend after being attacked by a shark off the coast of Florida several days ago, as seen in a harrowing video.
“It felt like someone on their surfboard had come full speed directly at me and hit me super hard,” Doyle Nielsen told Good Morning America of the attack, which occurred while he was vacationing in New Smyrna Beach. He was one of many surfers hoping to take advantage of the strong swells in the aftermath of Hurricane Larry.
Unfortunately, experts say that the big surf also created an ideal environment for sharks to feed.
In the nerve-wracking clip, posted to Instagram two days ago and set to the “Jaws” theme song, two sharks can be seen zig-zagging across the face of a wave. The footage then cuts to the young waterman paddling toward the surge, when, all of a sudden, one of the predators surfaces and rams him from the side.
Despite the ferocity of the attack, Nielsen claims that he didn’t realize what had happened until a bystander shouted, “‘There’s a shark, get out of there.’”
Thankfully, the surfer was able to paddle back to shore and came away from the encounter with only a gash on his arm.
“Doyle was right in the middle of my frame and the shark just hit him,” recalled Sam Scribner, a quadriplegic photographer who filmed the jaw-dropping moment. A former surfer himself, Scribner suffered a spinal cord injury in 2016, and now dedicates his time to photographing others embarking on his former hobby.
The videographer had posted the clip to his Instagram page with the hopes of locating Nielsen to “to make sure that he is all good,” he wrote in the caption.
He added, “I sincerely hope that the kid is not too scarred from the chomp & he’s able to get back in the water as soon as possible.”
Thankfully, the incident hasn’t scared Nielsen away from the sport for good. “I’ll definitely be surfing again,” the wave wizard promised, although he vows “to be a little more cautious” in the future.
Unfortunately, such incidents have become synonymous with New Smyrna Beach, which is often called the shark attack capital of the world, mynews13 reported.
Volusia County, where the city is located, boasts more shark attacks — or should we say “interactions” — than anywhere on earth, even eclipsing this “Sharknado”-evoking beach in Brazil where a man was recently killed while urinating in the sea. Meanwhile, chances of getting bitten by a shark in VC are ten times higher than in the rest of the country.
Experts chalk up the unprecedented number of incidents to the area’s strong tidal flow, which creates an ideal habitat for baitfish. In turn, this allows sharks to thrive.
This past June, two people were bitten by sharks in one hour within a two-mile radius, while earlier in May, a 64-year-old woman was chomped on the foot by a bull shark while surfing.
Nonetheless, most victims came away with only minor injuries and experts insist that the likelihood of getting attacked off New Smyrna Beach remains quite small.
“You’re far more likely to get involved in a fender bender driving to New Smyrna Beach,” said Gavin Naylor, who manages the International Shark Attack File database for the Florida Museum of Natural History.