Stab Magazine | A Squad You Don't Want To Be A Part Of: Bite Club

A Squad You Don’t Want To Be A Part Of: Bite Club

The support network for shark attack victims.

news // Aug 15, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Apart from restricted movement in his arm and fingers and one hell of a scar, Dave Pearson was lucky. In 2011 a three metre bull shark had latched onto his arm, dragging him under the surface where he managed to break free, dash for shore and hope for the best. He would wait three long hours before assistance arrived to stop the severe bleeding and stabilise his condition.

Stories like these, and those much worse, are all-to familiar these days across surf and commercial media, (not saying we aren’t guilty here). One thing that isn’t often shared is the aftermath of these encounters, not just the physical rehabilitation involved but the painful mental hurdles as well. The flashbacks, trauma and alienation experienced can be just as daunting. Enter Bite Club, the three-hundred-strong community set up by Pearson, consisting exclusively of attack survivors. It’s a closed Facebook group where members can connect, share stories and support one another to recover from a uniquely challenging experience.

Some victims have reported struggles with relationships and addictive substances post-attack. “When survivors are released from hospital they’re often still in a lot of pain so given strong prescription drugs,” says Pearson in the Telegraph piece by Amy Molloy. “Combine that with alcohol and feeling alone… Some go into a quiet, depressive state and disappear off the radar.

Members have even experienced backlash from the public in some cases, with cruel sentiments suggesting the victim was at fault in some way. “It’s like the old [attitude] when a girl was raped and people blamed her for dressing too sexily. Most surfers are trying to do the right thing. It’s not their fault. Some people in our group might want to go and kill every shark in the ocean, other people want to go into shark conservation. But we’re all trying to grow accustomed to a new normal.”

It’s unclear whether croc attack victims are welcome in the exclusive network.



Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

What Will Airs Look Like In 10 Years?

The final installment of our editorial exploration into the nuances of airborne surfing.

Dec 1, 2022


Can A South African Cavern Queen With No Pipeline Experience Do Well At The Vans Pipe Masters?

Sophie Bell will have a steep learning curve in Hawaii.

Nov 30, 2022

After Years Of Tragic Shark Attacks, Surf Competition Returns To Reunion Island — And A CT Event Could Follow

"We compete at J-Bay and Margarets where there's the same problem." -Johanne Defay

Nov 30, 2022


Sharing Tubes And Hummus In The Middle East’s Surfing Jewel: Israel

No Contest does Tel Aviv!

Nov 29, 2022


Joao Chianca Wants A Pipeline Rematch With JJF

And ain't afraid to ride more foam to do it in the Vans Pipe Masters.

Nov 29, 2022

An Unorthodox Marriage Of Science And Surf

Cliff Kapono and The Mega Lab are changing stereotypes on all fronts.

Nov 28, 2022


Harry Bryant Dumps Crutches, Visualizes Pipeline Pits After Snapping Leg

“For once in my life, I’m taking something a bit more serious."

Nov 27, 2022

What If You Bought This Sumatran Surf Camp For $690k?

Making a blue print out of surfing's most recurring day dream.

Nov 27, 2022

Sierra Kerr On Greasing Full Rotes, Making Dad Cry & Her Concussion @ VSHPBME 

'I haven’t got my license yet, but I'm thinking of buying a little truck.'

Nov 27, 2022


“There Definitely Needs To Be More Girls That Try Airs”

Caity Simmers' thoughts on her Vans Pipe Masters debut.

Nov 26, 2022

Preview: Who’s John John Florence Flushing Down The Haleiwa Toilet Bowl?

The final event of the CS schedule is almost upon us. Let's dissect.

Nov 25, 2022


Dane Reynolds Said These Clips Weren’t Good Enough

Could'a fooled us.

Nov 25, 2022

Watch Now: Kael Walsh, Rolo Montes, And Al Cleland Jr In ‘Saturn’

Quik’s new 20-minute surf film is so good you’ll want to burn a DVD of…

Nov 24, 2022


How A Magic Island Birthed One Of The Most Radical Surf And Skate Scenes In The World

Mateus Herdy, Pedro Barros and friends in Red Bull x Stab's No Contest, Brazil.

Nov 23, 2022

The Uber Driver Turned Crypto Millionaire Who Denounced His US Citizenship And Whips Into XXL Nazare

"I do what I want, I don't have a boss." -Toby Trouble

Nov 23, 2022


‘I Thought He Was Gonna Grab A Machete… Then He Picked Up A Rock’

2x SSOTY Jai Glindeman’s drama (& left-tube) filled Sumbawa trip.

Nov 23, 2022


“The Inside Of Pipeline Sounds Like The Center Of The Universe”

Tosh Tudor seeks solitude at the Vans Pipe Masters.

Nov 22, 2022

Is Rasta Rob Really Going To Ride His Beloved Stock Dims Rad Ripper At The Vans Pipe Masters?

An interview with the most rapidly ascended surfer in recent memory.

Nov 22, 2022