15-year-old surfer OK after shark bite
By Alicia A. Caldwell | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted August 8, 2002
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- After a few jellyfish stings and four hours of surfing, 15-year-old David Brennen Smith was ready to pack it in for the day. But before he knew it, Brennen was limping out of the waist-deep water about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday with a shark bite on his left ankle.
"I had just caught my last wave and was paddling back in," Brennen said. "I got off my board real quick and it just bit me."
The shaggy blond-haired high school sophomore from Riviera Beach said the 2- to 3-foot shark passed by his arm and then clamped down on his ankle. He said it quickly let go and swam away before he could really see it.
"I was like . . . 'I just got bit by a shark!' " Brennen said of his initial reaction to the attack.
Brennen, who is visiting his grandparents in DeLand, was with his grandfather, James D. Smith, when he was bitten. He was taken by ambulance to nearby Bert Fish Medical Center where he received eight to 10 stitches to close the wound, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Brennen said he called his mother after he became the sixth shark-bite victim in Volusia County this year. Her reaction: "She said she threw up," Brennen said with a braces-filled smile.
Armed with a Polaroid of his wound to show his friends, Brennen was ushered out of the hospital to a waiting crowd of reporters.
He told the group that last year's numerous shark attacks off the Volusia shoreline didn't scare him and suggested that his wound wouldn't keep the lifelong surfer on the beach and out of the water either. There were 22 reported shark attacks off Volusia beaches last year.
No other shark bites were reported Wednesday, said Volusia County Beach Patrol Deputy Chief Joe Wooden. He said lifeguards did treat numerous jellyfish stings, though the number had been "reduced substantially" since the weekend.
Nearly 800 swimmers had reported being stung by the "bloom" of jellyfish along Volusia and Flagler counties since Friday.
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