Stab Magazine | Teen Surfer Attacked By Shark While Wearing Shark Deterrent
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Teen Surfer Attacked By Shark While Wearing Shark Deterrent

When it comes to sharks, nothing is certain.

news // Dec 31, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

A 16-year-old Floridian surfer, named Zack Davis, has had his arm chewed by what is believed to have been a black tip shark. He was surfing near Avalon Beach State Park on North Hutchison Island when he sustained the bite, which left him in need of 44 stitches. The attack occurred while Zack was wearing an $80 Sharkbanz, which his mother had bought him for Christmas – a device designed to lower the chance of such a thing happening.

“I got this for Christmas,” said Zack. “It is a shark band and it was supposed to keep sharks away and the first time I wore it – and I go surfing a lot – but the first time I wore it, I get bit.”

The idea behind the band (a green one of which is visible in the photo above), is that the magnetic system deters a shark from approaching. They are a precautionary device, designed to lower the chances of an attack – Sharkbanz themselves are first to admit that nothing on this earth will stop a great white approaching from 100m away in attack mode, and that the effectiveness of the deterrent varies from species to species. But, some interesting elements are certainly raised here.

According to CBS 12, Sharkbanz contacted Zack, telling him that he was the first person to be attacked whilst wearing the device. “I’m really relieved he is ok and he was super positive about his recovery,” Sharkbanz co-founder, Nathan Garrison, told CBS 12. “What happened here is essentially the rarest of shark encounters where Zack jumped off his board and pretty much landed on the shark. If anything it probably helped clear the shark out of the area quicker.” 

Though, Zack says that’s not how it went down: “I know I didn’t land on the shark, because I would have felt that, but maybe I landed close to it and scared it.”

CBS 12 spoke with scientist Dr. Eric Stroud, who had this to say: “If the surfer did land on top of the shark or very close to it, the shark would have likely acted defensively to this. While accidental and certainly unlucky, this is essentially a provoked attack from the shark’s perspective. If the animal was cornered relative to the shore, the surfer’s body and physical contact occurred near the shark’s head, the shark acted as expected. In a provoked attack situation, shark repellents are no longer effective.”

The fact remains that these devices are not a guarantee against shark attacks. Nor are they marketed to be. When it comes to sharks, nothing is certain. 

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