Surfer Survives Shark Scare
POSTED: 8:36 pm EDT July 31, 2007
UPDATED: 9:00 pm EDT July 31, 2007
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- The survivor of Florida's latest shark attack spoke about his survival.
Chip Clark, 51, was attacked by a shark in New Smyrna Beach Sunday, WESH 2 News reported.
Clark said he's been surfing for 40 years and figures it was just a matter of time.
"I got a real deep puncture wound there, and then three deep cuts there," Clark said, pointing to his shoulder.
Clark said he guesses the shark was at least 5 feet long.
"He hit me head-on in the top of the head, glanced off and I guess his mouth hit my shoulder," he said. "It's hard to make contact with a shark's mouth without getting some cuts out of it."
New Smyrna Beach is home to bait fish and juvenile sharks hunting prey. Sometimes those sharks mix it up with swimmers and surfers.
"Typically when you dive into a wave, you expect to be received with a nice wet, warm welcome, and instead I got hit right on the snout by a shark that was charging other fish while riding the wave," Clark said.
Clark said he knew the injury wasn't critical, but the situation he found himself in afterward was indeed a problem.
"It knocked me pretty senseless and dazed me and when I came up I noticed a number of other fins and tails kicking all around and I found myself in a bait ball in a little feeding frenzy," he said.
Clark finally got safely to the beach and insists that any shark incident is truly a case of mistaken identity.
"This was just a collision. Even when they don't know what they're doing, they're gentle as they can be, and I apologized to the shark and he did likewise," Clark said.
Clark said he will surf again. It was his first bite in 40 years and he said he figures he's in good shape for decades to come.
Florida has the most shark bites in the world, according to the International Shark Attack file.
More than 30 percent of all shark attacks in the world happen right here in the Sunshine State. Florida has had 67 attacks since 2004.
To comment on this story, send an e-mail to Claire Metz.