People ask me all the time, “Aren’t you afraid of being eaten by a shark?” Well, as a surfer and frequent ocean frolicker, my chances of encountering sharks are pretty high. But no, I’m not afraid. Sure the thought of having my body ripped to shreds by the pearly knives of a great white disturb me, but it’s not a thought that frequently crosses my mind. If I were to constantly dwell on the thought of being attacked, I probably wouldn’t get in the ocean as much and that definitely would bum me out. Need some reasons to ditch the shark fear? Read on for my top 5…
1. You don’t taste good to sharks and it’s extremely rare that they will purposefully go after humans.
2. Surfing and going in the ocean is especially cool when we spot wildlife out there. Without sharks, the whole ecosystem would suffer and we wouldn’t see as many thriving sea critters.
3. Only about a dozen of the approximately 500 shark species should be considered potentially dangerous to humans.
4. Over the past five years, a mere average of 4.2 fatal shark attacks have taken place each year world-wide.
5. There are millions of beach goers each year, but only approximately 36 are attacked by sharks.
Another major thing to think about is that sharks are attacked far more often by humans than humans are by sharks. Shark fin soup is a delicacy and serves as symbol of high status in a few countries. The methods used to hunt sharks are downright intentionally cruel, as seen here. On the other hand, sharks normally bite humans by accident when they mistake us for seals, and rarely do they proceed to eat us after that first test bite.
So next time you get in the water, think positive thoughts and don’t put that fearful energy into the atmosphere. Instead, direct your thoughts to enjoying the surf and friendly wildlife, like dolphins, that you may encounter in the ocean.
*Statistics sourced from International Shark Attack File