I use to say I was an adrenaline junkie. I love roller coasters, fast cars and want to go skydiving at some point in my life. After running across an enlightening discussion on Reddit I no longer feel worthy of that title. Why? Because I don’t actually want to tempt death…or dismemberment.
Meet Chuck Patterson, a pro surfer and the reason I will no longer think of myself as brave. Chuck competes at the pro level on five different surfing events …. and also enjoys quiet time with Great Whites. The following video will make your butt cheeks tighten.
I get that surfers deal with sharks every time they go out. People swimming at the beach can also come in close contact with an eating machine. I get all that. But I was always under the impression that surfers avoided sharks whenever possible; the whole ‘hey don’t eat me’ thing. It seems that, since the GoPro camera became popular, surfers are seeking out sharky waters so they can get some prime footage. My brain can’t wrap around that. Side note: Yes, I realize Chuck is SUP surfing in this video which means he’s standing on the board when he films this. That does not make me feel better. One slip and you suddenly need half as many shoes.
My research came about thanks to this thread on Reddit which featured this photo:
My initial reaction: “omgomgomgomgomgomgOMG! Why? Why would you do this?” Apparently sharks don’t attack…much.
…until you scope out shark infested waters and plop yourself down in it with your camera. I’d say that raises the chances a wee bit. I don’t speak with sharks so I can’t agree or disagree with the concept that they don’t actually like to eat us. Maybe we’re too lean and lack all that tasty blubber you find in seals and penguins? Note to self: get cracking with that diet plan before beach season.
Statistics are funny things. They aren’t stationary; they can increase or decrease depending on what you do. I’d wager to guess that statistics are currently in favor of sharks not attacking simply because people usually take precautions that lower their odds of being attacked in the first place. In 2012, 45 people reported being attacked by a shark in the US. That isn’t a significant percentage compared to the number of people who go in the ocean each year. However, the fact that attacks doubled within just one year (only 20 attacks in 2011) shows that statistics are not concrete. Fact #1: if you are dangling your legs in front of a shark you just upped your odds and may become part of the updated statistics for the next year. Fact #2: Sharks suck at keeping count. Grizzly bears average only 5 attacks per year which statistically makes them safer than sharks. You could even say “The rate of grizzly attacks is very low. You have a MUCH higher risk of being attacked by a shark.” See how that works? Just because several other things are more likely to kill me doesn’t mean I’m going to try to bond with Smokey the Bear. I’ll just wait for the video.
*Disclaimer: I know nothing about sharks or bears except that I don’t want to be eaten by either one.