A predator that needs no introduction, the Great White shark has been responsible for the majority of attacks in California over the last decade. Photo: AP Images
We’ve all thought about sharks when surfing. Most of us have been asked by a member of the non-surfing community, “Aren’t you scared of sharks out there?” or “Have you ever seen a shark?” and for the majority of us, that answer is probably “no.” But thanks to Spielberg’s Jaws and Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, the thought of Great White sharks will occasionally creep into our heads, and maybe for good reason.
According to recent statistics released by the Shark Research Committee, the last decade saw a 73 percent increase in shark attacks compared to the 1990s. Whereas the ’90s saw 35 unprovoked shark attacks along the California and Oregon coastline (60 percent of which involved surfers), from 2000 to present day there were 56 unprovoked shark attacks, 70 percent of which involved surfers. The vast majority of all shark attacks on surfers took place in 1 to 3 feet of water, with the average age of all attacked persons being 29.