I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of sharks. No matter where I am, I’ve never gotten into the ocean and thought “uh oh, a shark might get me here, better watch out!”, especially given that there are only generally around 80 shark attacks per year across the whole world. However, if I was a surfer, and especially if I was a surfer in a place like Australia or South Africa where sharks are more common, I think I’d have at least a bit of fear for sharks, and I’m sure a large number of you readers would too!
According to a new study out of the University of South Australia, however, 60% of those wetsuit wearing, wave riding surfers don’t fear sharks while on the water. Now there’s a good chance you’re thinking something along the lines of “oh, but they’re on the water a ton, so they’ve probably seen how uncommon sharks actually are and know they aren’t really at risk”, but 51.3% of surfers have seen a shark while surfing, and 17.2% of surfers have been or know someone who’s been bitten by a shark!
The study surveyed 391 surfers who surf in 24 separate countries, predominately the United States. On top of the three already mentioned statistics, the research also concluded that 44% of surfers wouldn’t turn away from the water if there was a shark spotting. I don’t know about you, but I’m finding these numbers to be absolutely insane!
There might be some problems with this research, there might not, I really don’t know. I’m not a statistician and, despite how hard I tried, my high school statistics grade reflects that, but I think these stats are pretty neat. Sharks definitely get a lot more hate in this world than they deserve, especially in film, so it’s nice to see that at least the surfers aren’t terrified of them!