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Surfer's Shark Attack Story: A Biting Tale at Florida's 'Shark Bite Capital of the World'
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NEW SMYRNA, Florida -- If someone didn’t tell you, you would never know by looking that there’s something different about New Smyrna, Florida. Even if they did tell you, you probably wouldn’t believe it. That is, on the surface, New Smyrna doesn’t look that different from all the other beach communities that dot the central Florida coastline. Like the others, it has miles of white sand beaches, pleasant weather, great fishing, and excellent surfing. Without much hesitation, the locals would probably even tell you that New Smyrna has the ‘world’s safest bathing beach.’ The thing the locals probably won’t tell you, the something that makes New Smyrna different, is that New Smyrna is also the shark bite capital of the world.

If you ask the experts why there are so many shark attacks off New Smyrna, the likely answer would be: there’s a lot of people in the water. It’s understandable that a world-class beach would draw crowds. It also would follow that more people in the water would mean a greater chance of something going wrong, like a drowning, jellyfish stings, or even something as remote as a shark attack.

And if you asked the same experts who is at the most risk of an attack, the likely answer would be: surfers. Why surfers? Quite simply, there are lots of surfers in the waters off New Smyrna. And why do they surf New Smyrna? If you ask the wave riders on the east coast where the best surfing and the most consistent break can be found, the likely answer will be: New Smyrna, Florida. But that still doesn’t explain why so many shark attacks and why surfers?

The answer to all these questions: the Ponce Inlet.

The murky waters the surfers love happen to be adjacent to the Ponce de Leon Inlet, where the Halifax River and Intracoastal Canal empty into the Atlantic around the shoulders of stone jetties. These same murky waters, laden with baitfish, draw sharks in their search for an easy meal. And it is this strange coincidence of geography that draws the sharks and the surfers together. Given the right conditions, the surfer’s world above the waves and the shark’s right below are destined to collide. And collide they do. In fact, of the 36 shark attacks that occurred in the United States in 2003, 27 took place in Florida. Of those, 13 were in Volusia County, home of New Smyrna. But those are just statistics--here’s the story of one of those shark attacks.

The Attack

On the afternoon of September 28th, 2003, 21-yr-old Jimmy Arnold was surfing just south of the Ponce Inlet. Earlier in the day he had participated in a surfing contest and decided to spend the afternoon riding the waves down the shore. The conditions were typical for Florida in the late summer. It was warm, the sun firmly overhead, powering an inshore breeze that was whipping the water into a frothy, murky brown. The tide was going out through the inlet, carrying its load of baitfish out with it. Surfers were scattered about, though not too far from each other. Jimmy was about 150 yards from shore, lying prone on the board, paddling with his hands. His feet were trailing along off the side of the board. That was the last thing he remembered doing before the attack: just paddling, splashing around, and waiting for a wave.

On that September afternoon Jimmy never got a look at the beast that latched down his foot. It happened too fast to realize that it was a shark that had evidently mistaken his foot for an easy meal. When the shark hit, its teeth melted through the flesh, bone, and tendons of Jimmy’s foot, seizing it with a vise-like grip. Almost immediately, the beast tried to pull him straight down with tremendous force. Jimmy likened it to like having several cinder blocks tied to your leg, with its dead weight suddenly jerking him down.

Not consciously knowing what was happening, something in the back of his mind kicked in, perhaps from his years of surfing: it told him to hold on to his board. That unconscious reaction might of saved his life, keeping him buoyant and above the water. The shark held on for a few seconds and then let go. And then it was over.

Or so he thought.

A second later, there was a boil of white water and an explosion of fish jumping out of the water around his surfboard. Sharks were in the area, chasing anything that was moving. It took Jimmy a second to realize what had happened. He didn’t immediately feel the pain but the adrenalin had kicked in. And it only took another second to realize his foot, dripping with blood, was still dangling in the water. The shark had clamped down on the sides and bottom of his left foot, leaving some 25 bloody red slots.

Lightheaded and afraid he might pass out, Jimmy knew he had to get back to the safety of the shore. He yelled to some other surfers but they were too far away to hear over the sound over the wind and waves. He paused for a second and realized he was on his own; he had to paddle back to shore by himself. After a few strokes he saw another explosion of boiling water and baitfish a few feet away from him—the sharks were still around. With his foot bleeding and still in the water, he feared another attack.

Luck was finally with him, though. A wave came by that started to push him ashore. Pulling his legs out of the water, he started the long paddle back to the beach. On the way in, he alerted others that a shark had attacked him.

By the time he came ashore, the beach patrol was there to meet him. They wrapped his foot in a towel and packed ice around it. It only took a few minutes before the crowd appeared. In front of hundreds of onlookers, the shock of what happened set in. He felt nauseated and dizzy. He looked around, with the crowd closing and the din of noise increasing, and all he could see was a white swirl.

After being rushed to the hospital, the doctors numbed his foot, injecting each bite with local anesthetic. Each of those needles hurt more that bite, he thought. It took 50 stitches to close all the wounds.

Aftermath

Seven weeks after the attack, Jimmy went back in the water for the first time since the attack. His foot is about 90% of normal function with a little bit of soreness remaining. Thinking about getting back in the water, surfing again, isn’t easy. He said, ‘It’s kind of scary.’

Looking back, Jimmy doesn’t know why the shark attacked that day. He thought it might have something to do with the surfboard leash on left foot, which attaches right above the ankle. Maybe that small thing, breaking up the outline of his foot, was what confused the shark and led to the attack. Maybe.

If you look at the facts behind the attacks similar to Jimmy’s, most seem to be related to the surfer’s posture and actions in the water--lying on the board, arms and legs hanging off the side, paddling around and splashing. Off the cold waters of California’s coast, it is just these actions, just this silhouette, which great white sharks seem to confuse for seals and sea lions. But in these warm murky waters off New Smyrna, there are no seals, sea lions or similar prey in the surf zone. What is known is that the bull, black tip, tiger and reef sharks that frequent these waters use the confusion of poor visibility and strong currents to their advantage when they hunt for prey. Most of the attacks on humans off Florida are unprovoked ‘hit and run’-type encounters, leaving the victim with a single bite or rake mark (like Jimmy). It seems that the shark realizes it has made a mistake in attacking something other than its normal prey and quickly lets it go.

It’s like being in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing. And that’s the truth. Just don’t ask the locals.

Reader Comments

96 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

This was a fantastic shark story. I now have enough information to do for my research in school. But really I hope I WILL never get attacked by a shark especially the great white the whale shark and the TIGER shark! I am looking up the Tiger Shark, it looks really fierce and so it seems interesting to study! Give me your comments!write back plz/
   comment# 1   - Jane · Salem Ma · Nov 4, 2006 @ 10:34pm

In June, 2005, my husband was attacked by a shark at the southern tip of Baja, Mexico. Just like Jimmy's attack, the shark bit my husband several times in the foot. It almost amputated his foot, and he almost died. If anybody knows how to contact jimmy, please advise. thank you, rhondakamin@netzero.net
   comment# 2   - Rhonda Kamin · Baja, Mexico · Nov 26, 2006 @ 11:49am

Jane, whale sharks do not attack humans, they dont even have teeth
   comment# 3   - Melissa · Canada · Feb 16, 2007 @ 11:57pm

Volusia County may be shark bite capital of the world but there are very few deaths due to shark bites here. The coast of Australia is infamous for shark bites resulting in death. That is what you would call a shark attack, not a shark mistaking a foot for a fish. More often than not, sharks let go of the surfer foot or hand (which dangles off the surf board in the water attracting the shark) when they realize what they are tasting isn't the meal they anticipated. Most surfers here do not worry about the sharks, neither do the locals--it’s the ignorant tourists that take common misconceptions at face value. If you ever find yourself being “attacked” by a shark, punch it in the nose or eye.
   comment# 4   - Jessica · New Smyrna, USA · Apr 2, 2007 @ 12:15pm

These pictures are a little gross; but then again they are cool. But I think you should put even more discusting pictures on this site; like a guys arm bit off, or all the blood and stuff.
   comment# 5   - Brandie Trudeau · Grayling, MI United States · May 10, 2007 @ 9:06am

that looks painful. i feel so sorry for any one that gets attacked by a shark. i know how it feels. i got attacked and now i'm in a wheelchair with 1 leg. i'm sorry about your foot . xx
   comment# 6   - sam · england · May 17, 2007 @ 1:59am

i'm a surfer and i have been to Smyrna beach there is nothing to fear about it and i realize that shark do pose a huge threat and yes i have been bitten but that doesn't stop me and it shouldn't stop u. yes i'm afraid it's gonna happen again but i no now what to look for.
   comment# 7   - Rikki · New Smyrna, USA · Aug 23, 2007 @ 5:11am

Jane, You ignorant female of a bad reputation
   comment# 8   - gmahle551 · boaz · Aug 26, 2007 @ 10:44am

I have a house right on the beach, I have 3 boys ages 15, 14 & 10, they spend more time in the water than out and have never had a problem. My 10 year old did catch a 2' sand shark last weekend. This is usually the shark that mistakenly bites people. The small sharks that run up and down the surf feeding on finger mullet and other small baitfish. New Smyrna has got to be 1 of the top 10 beaches in the world and if you saw how many people were in the water on the weekends you would be suprprised that more people are not accidentally bitten. You are probably more likely to be bitten by a snake in your own backyard than to have a shark attack you at NSB. Enjoy the beach !!! Sullivan
   comment# 9   - Sullivan · New Smyrna Beach · Aug 31, 2007 @ 10:24am

I was just at the New Symrna beach today. The whole day I didn' let my girlfriend go to far out. But I know that they don't mind shallow water either. Kinda scary over there. Love the beach though.
   comment# 10   - Brandon Gibbs · Iowa · Sep 3, 2007 @ 4:08pm

The beach was packed yesterday and I did not hear one word about shark bites on the new last night or this morning. I did overhear one of the lifegaurds talking about a group of sharks feeding directly in front of him.
   comment# 11   - Sullivan · New Smyrna Beach, USA · Sep 4, 2007 @ 12:11pm

Hello everyone, I'm working for a show for the travel channel. We want to do a segment on the "shark attack capital of the world, New Smyrna Beach." Let me know if you have good or bad stories to tell! my email is paulazelaya@gmail.com
   comment# 12   - Paula Zelaya · Miami, FL · Sep 4, 2007 @ 2:32pm

i have treasure hunted there for 5yrs there are shipwrecks there from 1500s-1700-s with ballast stone everywhere which brings in feeder fish witch bring in the sharks a lot of black fin and bull sharks some days the sand covers the ballast and other days there are uncovered mostly uncovered i had a bull shark taste my foot there at night treasure hunting at night on 3rd street before the w bartman wreck apeared there are five more wrecks around there be careful i know your pain salt water and sand in your cuts suck but the the odds are in your faver now i up you catch the big wave catch one for me to to uh the snow sucks here best of luck tom walker
   comment# 13   - tom walker · whitecloud mich usa · Jan 18, 2008 @ 9:54pm

I have been swimming at New Smyrna beach since 1980 and have only had one encounter with a shark. I have no fear that one will ever bite me. I LOVE NEW SMYRNA BEACH ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
   comment# 14   - Erica · Deltona, USA · Apr 3, 2008 @ 7:16pm

I stay at a resort every summer about 1/2 a mile from the jetties. and every year i hear about shark attacks! last year i was only there for a week and there were 2 shark attacks! when i go this year im sure that a shark wont even cross my mind when i get in the water but it seems very scary!!
   comment# 15   - Sara · Lawrenceville,USA · May 6, 2008 @ 11:38am

We own 2 timeshares in New Smyrna beach and we absolutely love it. We swim and wade and I have seen sharks twice, close to the beach, but we have never had a problem. When people try to invite themselves on our vacation all I usually have to do is mention shark attack capital and they change their minds abut wanting to go. Funny, the salespeople never mentioned sharks in their selling presentations.
   comment# 16   - Tracy · Memphis, TN · May 17, 2008 @ 11:06am

Each and every time I go to Smyrna Beach I think "what if." But I leave with no encounter of any kind. Just a great time, and great waves. Just remember, your in their home. Respect them...
   comment# 17   - Steve · Orlando, FL. · May 29, 2008 @ 8:52am

I visit the New Smyrna beach every year and would like to ask a very basic question. I see many people casting bait and fishing right off the beach. My instincts tell me that I do not want to go swimming where there is bait being put into the water. Isn't it common sense to realize that this will draw in all kinds of predators to feed on the bait. I know sharks have a keen sense of smell and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Has anyone brought this up as a possible cause for the increase in shark attacks. I'm just a concerned citizen that is trying to keep the beach safe. Please respond.
   comment# 18   - Barb Zillig · Buffalo, New York · Jun 2, 2008 @ 9:19am

I visit NSB several times a year, and I would like to point out that the sea is the habitat of sharks, dolphins, turtles etc. It is not the habitat of humans. So, perhaps people should try other sports which do not invade the space of these creatures.
   comment# 19   - maryjones@hotmail.es · Guatemala · Jun 11, 2008 @ 2:53pm

I've seen a few Jaws movies here and there. But I don't know why we're polluting & invading the sharks habitat for what important reason?
   comment# 20   - Mike Barnstein · Baltimore, Maryland, USA · Jun 22, 2008 @ 11:55am

Hi do you know what kind of shark it was?
   comment# 21   - Emily Sketch · Debary,United States · Jul 4, 2008 @ 2:45pm

I love Volusia County-I hope to move there some day and retire. It is the greatest place on earth. When I am at the beach, I never think about whether or not I might be bitten/attacked by a shark.
   comment# 22   - Anne · Saint Albans, WV · Jul 8, 2008 @ 12:43pm

This is where i surf all the time. This article makes it seam a lot more scary and dangerous than what the reality is. Although it is not an uncommon sight to spot a shark or two while surfing. For the most part though there are just a lot of small sharks and no serious attacks. Usually when someone is attacked the shark will just bite and let go, and most of the time no stitches are necessary. I know a few people who have been bitten and they are still surfing at the inlet.
   comment# 23   - Reid · Orlando, FL · Jul 9, 2008 @ 12:42pm

that is so scary. i love and respect sharks and would never want an encounter with one so i stay on the sand and enjoy the view.
   comment# 24   - Meandmygrls · Edison, NJ · Jul 18, 2008 @ 12:57pm

Just got back from New Smyrna beach. We saw two sharks while we were their. One was dead and had washed up on the beach. The other someone caught on the sound side at cape canaveral. This was the first time I had stayed at New Smyrna. The place is awesome the water is out of a book or commercial. If you get the chance to go I would go. One of the most relaxing vacations I have been on. Thanks to locals and New Smyrna
   comment# 25   - sea dog · afton , va. · Jul 22, 2008 @ 9:02pm

I asked what beach was "Family Oriented" by a friend and she told me New Smyrna Beach. My husband, son and I swam there for hours...if I had known about the population of sharks...I would have chosen another beach. Although it was a beautiful beach!
   comment# 26   - Gerri · Minnesota · Jul 26, 2008 @ 3:24pm

Jane, whale sharks don't attack people, due to the fact that they don't have teeth.
   comment# 27   - Jazz · USA · Jul 26, 2008 @ 9:00pm

ahhh i love new smyrnsssss i cant believe there be so many sharkies
   comment# 28   - Caroline M · Pittsford, NY · Jul 27, 2008 @ 8:19am

Screw the sharks. It's the manatees you have to watch out for!
   comment# 29   - Megan · New Smyrna FL · Jul 28, 2008 @ 1:06pm

Well, the reason why whale sharks don't attack people (or other "big things") is not exactly the fact that they don't have teeth - actually they do have a huge amount of tiny teeth (about 3,000)-rather than the fact that they exclusively feed on plankton and small fishes. Remember that when a shark attacks a human being he or she is the "odd one out" in the water. Actually we are not that good meal - very low-fat and poor carbohydrates contribution.
   comment# 30   - Luis · Spain · Jul 29, 2008 @ 10:19am

Born and raised Smyrnan, and I have never had a problem with sharks. 3 friends have been bit, but who cares, that's the chance you take, they'll tell you the same thing. Yes our beaches are beautiful, and yes New Smyrna is the best beach EVER, but for fun in the sun that's the price you pay. I have swam feet away from bull sharks,black tips, sand sharks and hammerheads and never thought twice about it. Just watch out if you see mullet jumping, or pelicans diving, then maybe just stick to sun bathing.
   comment# 31   - Jane · New Smyrna Beach, FL · Aug 2, 2008 @ 7:20pm

My wife and I had a close encounter at Ponce Inlet with a 12 foot bull shark. It is an experience that I will never forget. There should be a sign posted there warning that sharks are in the area.
   comment# 32   - Gregg · Tampa, FL · Aug 28, 2008 @ 1:38pm

YOUR SHARK PICTURES ARE AWSOME.
   comment# 33   - RAMEAU · FL · Aug 28, 2008 @ 4:19pm

I use to live in Daytona Beach (close to New Smyrna). There are small shark (sand, nurse, etc) all along that coast. I use to run the beach on mornings/5 am and my companion every once in a while was a shark in 2-3' of water swimming parallel to the beach. I watched fisherman catch 3-4' shark off the piers while hundreds of tourists swam the beaches. I've bumped into sand sharks while in 3' of surf. One of the writers was right, the inlet and diving wrecks off New Smyrna draw the sharks in for feeding... swimmers get in the way and are mistaken for bait! But the ones you really have to watch out for in that area are the bull sharks. Living there you learn what to watch for concerning sharks,fish boils, murky water, bait fish jumping, etc. and simply avoid specific situations that could be dangerous.
   comment# 34   - Gary Svec · Cedar Rapids, Ia · Sep 3, 2008 @ 12:36pm

I just moved to New Smyrna, but have visited here for many years previous and have never personally had an encounter with a shark. But i do have to report that my wonderful town today broke a shark bite record. Wooo! lol I suggest when you visit New Smyrna Beach, just don't swim at the jetty & inlet area or the immediate area south of it, you'll be fine!!!
   comment# 35   - Jess · New Smyrna Beach, FL - USA · Sep 15, 2008 @ 4:50pm

I left florida about 2 years ago. I surfed fl waves my whole life. As i read this article it brought back alot of memories. I haved surfed this spot for probally 15 years and let me tell you, as a swimmer i woulden't swim eany where near that partular spot. There have been times that i was out there,and no lie everytime i caught a wave i could see spotsin the water that were like 4 feet long. We surfed the whole day and i think about 3 people were bit. That following monday they closed the beach to all swimmers and surfers for i think like 3 days or so. Just be carefull usegood judgment and when you see a pack of school fish get the hell outof the water. That way when i get back to the place i love it wount be so dame crowded.
   comment# 36   - tony · chicago · Oct 12, 2008 @ 4:11pm

I grew up in NSB and my friends and I were in the water all the time surfing at the inlet. Never had a problem, although we were bumped often by sharks and when bait fish were around like Mullet or Jack it would get scary. I was waiting for a set one morning and a school of large mullett passed and wham! Three reef sharks hit them. I remember it being so quiet that you could here them crunching on the fish.
   comment# 37   - Scott · York PA · Oct 29, 2008 @ 9:12am

Nice Weather 90% of the year. You can surf basicly all year. in the winter lowest air temp is 40's or 30's. :] NSB FTW
   comment# 38   - Kyle · New Smyrna Beach · Nov 27, 2008 @ 2:41am

Hi all, I am Jimmy from the above article. I am happy to say I have been surfing quite often and have not been attacked again. Several people commented that I should find a new hobby that does not involve invading the shark's habitat. You must understand that surfing is a way of life not a just a hobby. Should Lebron James quite playing basketball because of the risk that be could blow out his knee. I think not! The Learning Channel (TLC) recently aired a re-enactment on my story I will post the link soon. If you have any questions you may contact me at Jimmyarneldo@msn.com
   comment# 39   - Jimmy Arnold · Honolulu, HI, USA · Dec 18, 2008 @ 2:20pm

Here is the link from Science Channel show on me, http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1309025333944798406&hl=en
   comment# 40   - Jimmy Arnold · Honolulu, HI, USA · Jan 2, 2009 @ 1:03am

Yeah, I have been surfing at NSB for several years and have yet to be bitten. I have encountered two sharks and nothing happened. I mean, like the article said, "attacks" are more of accidents at NSB.
   comment# 41   - Juan · deland · Feb 2, 2009 @ 8:51pm

I was born and raised here in New Smyrna Beach. One of the sickest beaches ever. Very consistent wave break. Probably why we have so many pro surfers like Nils, Gorkin, and Erik Geiselman. If you ask them or me(I Surf every weekend), its just a chance you take because mostly everybody knows the risk. The locals are cool with whatever happens. Just the out-of-towners are the people that make a deal, even when they don't get bitten. Swimmers hardly ever get bitten, so no worries there. Surfers, don't worry, just come to enjoy the beach, the women, and shred the gnar!!!
   comment# 42   - Lucas · NSB · Feb 4, 2009 @ 9:13pm

http://c2.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/54/l_cac967fd3551cb7db5ffb6a26c849f51.jpg
   comment# 43   - Lucas · NSB · Feb 4, 2009 @ 9:34pm

When someone says that you do not have to fear, it's a bunch of baloney. You are in sharks territory. Life itself is a gamble. A risk of life and death every day. You could be in a serious car accident, plane accident, anything, that could take your life. I was in a serious car accident, almost lost my life, because this 16 yr old boy was going 80 mph, and lost control around a curve. He was coming straight towards me at midnight. When I saw him, I drove my car completely off the road, to the right. His car slammed into my driver's door, at an angle, and ripped out the whole side of my car. The door slammed into my hip, shattering it, and the frame of the car wrapped around my ankle. The impact threw me into the steering wheel,and caused me internal bleeding, and a tear in my liver. I fought to keep from going out. Emergency pesonnel had to cut my ankle out from the frame of the car. My friend went with the tow truck driver to get my car, and he thought that I was killed. My friend said,"He's not dead. He is in the hospital. I was in surgery for 10 hours. It took me a year to learn to walk again. I had a pin and plate in my left hip, for 5 years. I suffered a lot of pain, and I'm still suffering from arthritis, in my hip and legs. That was in Nov, 1975. There were a few yrs, that I couldn't work.
   comment# 44   - Glenn Coller · Daytona Beach, Fla. U.S.A. · Feb 5, 2009 @ 11:49pm

wow! that's amazing! it should help me on my report!thanx!
   comment# 45   - laura · oklahoma, usa · Feb 6, 2009 @ 10:21am

My family happens to have a condo in New Smyrna Beach, we go usually in May so theres not SO many people there. We have never seen or heard of a shark attack, and quite frankly now im scared. This story could scare alot of people, but it is something they need to know. Keep up with letting people hear the attack story, its good stuff to know.
   comment# 46   - Ashleigh · Morganton USA · Mar 5, 2009 @ 9:05am

Having been going to NSB for several years now i have never been bitten or even seen a shark in the shallow waters. Of course, I have never been out so deep that i cannot touch the bottom. If you look at some of the pictures from above, you can see many large fish (Yes many of them sharks), but i havent heard of a shark bite in years. I agree with the many people on here, its good to know that there is a danger of an "attack" but that story wont stop people from getting in the water. Plus, there is a very big chance that the sharks are more scared of you as you are of them. You're more likely to get in a plane or car crash than get attacked by a shark. (statistically shown.)
   comment# 47   - Ragan · Taylorsville USA · Mar 17, 2009 @ 8:43am

Any other breaks besides the inlet ? Im thinking crowd factor not sharks.
   comment# 48   - Beachbumsix · Towson USA · Apr 10, 2009 @ 12:13pm

just surfed there today by myself. creepy.
   comment# 49   - mbhux · USA · May 17, 2009 @ 6:58pm

I've been to NSB many times with my family, and we've never encountered sharks. I have heard that there are alot of sharks there though. I've also heard that when there are shark attacks, locals do not like to mention it.
   comment# 50   - Jeffrey Clifford · Ottawa, ont, Canada · Jun 14, 2009 @ 7:15pm

i just got back from a vacation at this beach,and i didnt even know that this beach was a shark bite capitol! i just saw it on the news this moring....and i was really scared! thanks to whoever wrote this article...because i was gana go back to new smyrna beac in about 2 months :)
   comment# 51   - katie · laurens,sc · Jul 10, 2009 @ 8:45am

I was visiting my sister in New Smyrna, and for my neices graduation. I was by the jetti in just above the knee, water, looking for sand dollars, I was bitten by a small shark, the water was very muddy from the wind. I have a scar to show off for the rest of my life and a shark bite novelty shirt from my sister and I received 1 st class airfare home to see another dr. I will visit again, but I'll stick to shell shopping on Flagler Ave. I'll leave the surfers for shark food.
   comment# 52   - Diane · Williamsburg, Va. · Jul 10, 2009 @ 10:05am

I've lived in N.S.B my whole life and have never been bit. The only place you see alot of them when you're surfing is by the inlet. That's because all the fishermen dump the scraps from the fishing trip which of cource attracts them. There's a place called shark shallows, that's the worst place to be, TRUST ME
   comment# 53   - Layton · New Symrna Beach, Florida · Jul 13, 2009 @ 2:23pm

Shark attacks do happen, and many of them go unreported. In 2001 New Symrna Beach accounted for 4 attacks in a single day which as far as I know, is the highest ever recorded for a beach attack. Anyone who says that you have a better chance of being hit by lightening is probably correct, but you cannot equate one with the other. Let's face it, you can be struck by lightening at any time, any where, even while sleeping in your bed. In order to be attacked by a shark, pretty much you have to be in the water. The amount of time the average person spends in the ocean per year, then makes the probability of a shark attack much higher per activity hour. Lets face it, you are not mistaken for food, you are food when you enter the ocean. Don't buy into the misconception that surfers look like seals from below and that's why they are attcked. When was the last time you saw a seal, lounging on the beach in New Symrna?
   comment# 54   - Bill · Cascade, MT · Aug 7, 2009 @ 10:44am

Today we saw a shark at NSB! This was our second time surfing NSB. It was a bit creepy I have to admit, the water is not clear, and has a fish smell..we had out feet up for a bit after spotting the shark..real creepy ... the water is just fishy smelling ....but that is part of this beaches charm...it is a wild place..this is NOT disneyland.... NEW SYMRNA WE call it NEW SUR-MURKA. because it is a bit murky but thank god they stopped dredging it .. and we DID see a SHARK today!! about 10' away going for fish... but nothing happened to us it apparently had FISH to catch and not us lol We also saw a manta ray breech and FLY completely out of the water!BEAUTIFUL .. The place is beautiful, really a peaceful, yet powerful example of nature..... part of nature.... and it should be kept that way.. without too many buildings, or the garbage party scene of DAYTONA... it is really a wild ocean here , but you may ask what does that mean?? YOU have to experience and come see it here....for yourself - huge waves off in the distance, out past the jetty, charging in like a heartbeat of a neptune god.. lol But another beach close by is without murky water, without the fish smell, and that is MY local spot. t do NOT go to close to the jetty in NSB .... and stay out of the water when you see the baitfish running .. great place to surf! ENDLESS WAVES .. Endless Summer..
   comment# 55   - loCAL · volsuia county local · Aug 8, 2009 @ 8:24pm

I was actually killed by a shark here once. As far as I know I'm the only one. Boy did that suck.
   comment# 56   - NickUnderpants · Fulton,USA · Aug 19, 2009 @ 2:43pm

i killed a shark wit my bare hands
   comment# 57   - alan eades · oklahoma · Oct 1, 2009 @ 11:10am

sharks dont attack me... i attack them
   comment# 58   - dan · michigan · Nov 3, 2009 @ 12:31pm

shark bites suck!
   comment# 59   - fred · longwood,seminole county · Dec 17, 2009 @ 6:01pm

i luv sharks so much cos day r so cool, i go 2 n.s.b every year and don't eva get bitten but have heard bout someone 1day in the inlet area, so watch out cos it caught some body out when i went last year. my fav sharks have 2 b the g.w.s cos they r so aawesome y'all!!
   comment# 60   - sandie · houston,texas · Dec 20, 2009 @ 2:29pm

I think Jellyfish are wonderful creatuers.But when you get into their teretory like a dogs, their going to attack.This is also how sharks are.
   comment# 61   - Kayla · Ohio · Jan 3, 2010 @ 8:37am

Last summer we were walking on the beach pretty far south of the Inlet at around 6pm, and we looked into the water and it couldn't have been more than knee-deep and we saw two 6ft sharks. Thank goodness that was the last night of our vacation, because frankly it scared us all to death!
   comment# 62   - LB · birmingham, al · Feb 14, 2010 @ 7:28am

That was nothing. It was sooooo funny!
   comment# 63   - DD 2392 · Louisville,KY · Feb 22, 2010 @ 3:31pm

"This was a fantastic shark story. I now have enough information to do for my research in school. But really I hope I WILL never get attacked by a shark especially the great white the whale shark and the TIGER shark! I am looking up the Tiger Shark, it looks really fierce and so it seems interesting to study! Give me your comments!write back plz/ - Jane · Salem Ma · Nov 4, 2006 @ 10:34pm" i am also doin the tiger shark for school =D i picked it because it seemed like something cool to study =D
   comment# 64   - alex · .., Indiana · Mar 18, 2010 @ 6:09am

I saw a Spinner Shark feeding last night (4/22) at dinner time at about 10th ave south in NSB. He came right out of the water and showed his white belly while pursuing dinner. My advice is: always swim with lots of people around. Then you don't have to swim fast, just faster than the slowest swimmer there.
   comment# 65   - Keith · Edgewater FL · Apr 23, 2010 @ 12:28pm

that is a shame that makes me cry
   comment# 66   - shunareka · lake charles · May 14, 2010 @ 12:41pm

I was just at new symrna today and it was as gorgeous as always. I'm a native Floridian, so I've been up and down the east and west coast beaches of Florida and, I have to say, this is one of the prettiest. If you are scared of sharks though don't go there, because they are there and not going anywhere. Since I can remember, symrna has been known for 3 major things: surfing, sharks, and jellyfish (which I've never seen an article on symrna and jellyfish, even though it's pretty common as well. My favorite beach though. The way a natural beach should be.
   comment# 67   - Amy · Orlando, fl · Jun 19, 2010 @ 5:57pm

i saw a movie in my home town. in that, hero was killed a big shark with a small lgi knife. then only he could marshei marrie his lover. so you may yo use your stepstre surf board to attack that shark. any way you and shark both are escaped from each other. enjoy. its very nice to read. sorry for spelling mistakes. bye takere care.
   comment# 68   - karnan chennai. · tamilnadu: india · Jun 28, 2010 @ 10:26am

I grew up by Ponce Inlet and it is a beautiful area that is full of aggressive sharks though spinners and nurse sharks are more common. They bite but don't maul. Bull sharks, the deadliest, breed in the Intracoastal Waterway. A kite surfer was killed by several juvenile great whites in February in Stuart which is and hour and a half south, they are becoming more common because the deep waters are fished out. One of the biggest whites on record was caught some years ago IN the Ponce Inlet jetty by a fishing boat. In the spring you can fish off the Daytona pier and catch baby hammerheads, black tips and other aggressive varieties one after another all day literally yards from swimmers. Enjoy the beach, stay safe.
   comment# 69   - ex-resident · mount dora, fl, usa · Jul 1, 2010 @ 6:11pm

I heard Bull Sharks were really aggressive! Any stories about attacks in New Smyrna?
   comment# 70   - Marc · England · Jul 3, 2010 @ 12:16am

About two years ago, my family went on vacation to Florida. First we went to Clear Water beach, which was beautiful, but then towards the end of the trip, we went to New Smyrna. It was the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. Little did we know that it was the shark bite capital of the world. My mom decided not to go to Daytona Beach because she had heard that it had high ratings of shark bites. My mom would have never let us into the water if she had known, but I am glad she didnt. It was wonderful and we never had a problem other than myself getting stung by an occasional jellyfish. I really hope to come back one day and see New Smyrna again. It was one of the best vacations i have ever taken. Enjoy the beach! :)
   comment# 71   - Danielle · Jefferson City- Missouri · Jul 31, 2010 @ 9:33am

We have gone to NSB every year since my oldest was born eleven years ago. We would remind the kids about the sharks and that kept them from going out too deep. I worried more about riptides than sharks. The only shark I ever saw was on a fisherman's line (saw lots of dolphins.)
   comment# 72   - Sue · Michigan · Aug 4, 2010 @ 2:16pm

really a shame what happend to Jimmy Arnold. I just got back from New Smyrna and had an encounter with two sharks but thankfully nothing happend. They just minded their own business and swam past. First ever encounter that Ive known of in my life! Nice beach though!
   comment# 73   - Dan · Pittsburgh · Aug 21, 2010 @ 8:54pm

That is a very interesting shark story. I have been thinking and I like sharks and really interested in studying them on my free time I always do. I love finding out why sharks attack certain people and that is what I do in my free time. Its a great story and glad your surfing again.
   comment# 74   - brienne · USA · Sep 4, 2010 @ 3:35pm

I'm a surfer and every year me and my friend Cara go to New Smryna. Last summer we were about 5 ft away from eachother floating on our boards and my friend kicked a shark and seen its head. She freaked out and never went back in the water. It was really scary. I'm glad we didn't get attacked!
   comment# 75   - Audrey · Clearwater · Sep 15, 2010 @ 3:07pm

that is crazy that must of hurt
   comment# 76   - zach · bandon,or · Sep 30, 2010 @ 5:41pm

thats must hurt all the time oooowwwwwww
   comment# 77   - naomi · casleford · Mar 21, 2011 @ 4:58am

When you're playing in the sharks waters, you should always leave room for chance! After all, no one's ever been bitten in their beach house! The waves here are killer, and it draws local surfers, as well as world class surfers. If you stick your hand in an Ant colony, you'll probably get bit, same with surfing. The bites are always a mistake, (it's not like a surfer has ever been pulled under and mauled to death) besides, it gives the N.S.B. Surfing experience a bit more bragging rights. And what is it that REAL surfers crave? Bragging rights! After you brave the shark infested waters in N.S.B., come visit Manzano's deli at 311 Flagler Avenue to have a meal that will make all the surfer loving sharks jealous! Represent N.S.B.!!!!
   comment# 78   - Phil mancuso · New Smyrna Beach, F.L. U.S.A. · Mar 24, 2011 @ 4:15pm

I am reading all these comments but am still leary. We are planning a vacation to New Smyrna in June and after hearing shark stories some of our party is now freaking out. Any advice? Will we be safe to still vacation here?
   comment# 79   - staci · sullivan indiana · Mar 29, 2011 @ 5:28am

staci: yes, come on down. 13 "attacks" in 2003 is nothing compared to the number of people that go in the waters every year. i don't know a single person whose been bitten by a shark. but then again, maybe im just a hermit :)
   comment# 80   - hang10 · New Smyrna · Apr 9, 2011 @ 7:24pm

Thanks so much. Everyone is freaking out but I am really excited to check New Smyrna out for the first time. We are staying in OceanWalk Condos. Can you tell me anything about them or do you know? You have been very helpful
   comment# 81   - staci · sullivan · Apr 11, 2011 @ 9:51am

Thanks for the info. Cant wait to try out NSB for the first time. We are staying at the OceanWalk condo resort. Any info on this?
   comment# 82   - staci · sullivan, indiana · Apr 11, 2011 @ 11:25am

I got picked up last year by a group of four sharks (or maybe they were some kind of small whale, one easily more than 20 feet). I rode that beast for 150 feet or so, too scared to jump off and in shock. I was uninjured except for some rash patterns. I see sharks frequently, usually dozens of times per summer, and other than my experience last summer they mind their own business which is fishing. Don't let anyone tell you there aren't lots of sharks around NSB. the waters are loaded. Just hope you only run into poltie sharks.
   comment# 83   - jude · nsb fla. · Apr 19, 2011 @ 3:08pm

WE ARE GOING TO NSB MAY 6TH 2011 AND NOW I AM FREAKED OUT ABOUT THIS SHARK THING AND I CAN'T TELL MY FAMILY. WE SHOULD HAVE DONE DESTIN FLORIDA AGAIN. THIS IS THE FIRST YEAR THAT WE WANTED TO TRY DAYTONA/NSB AREA. EVERY YEAR IT'S THE GULF SIDE. I SHOULD HAVE RESEARCHED IT BEFORE I MADE THE PLANS AND RESERVATION I GUESS. THANKS FOR THIS SHI...INFORMATION.
   comment# 84   - FRANK · CHARDON, OHIO · Apr 20, 2011 @ 11:41am

To Frank: when you return from your trip would you please let me know your concerns or how it went? We are going in June and I am so scared but like you already have reservations. Should have checked it out first also. Hope you have a great time.
   comment# 85   - staci · sullivan, indiana · Apr 21, 2011 @ 11:23am

NSB is a wonderful place to visit! Please don't let these shark bite stories scare you. It is a wonderful place to vacation with a family! We visit often and have never had a problem.
   comment# 86   - Stacey · Cincinnati, Oh · Jun 10, 2011 @ 12:45pm

I go to NSB every year with friends. It is such a beautiful beach and charming town! It is fun for all ages! The sharks don't really concern me; the only time I have actually seen them is from the balcony of my beach condo early in the morning. And it is easy to mistake dolphins for sharks. When we swim in the ocean, we always do it right in front of the lifeguard stand: they are watching and helicopters are constantly scanning too. I have faith that they tell the tourists in the water to "get out" in plenty of time, if needed. Besides, the pools are lovely, perhaps a bit overheated for Canadian girls!
   comment# 87   - Kathryn · Ottawa, Canada · Jun 17, 2011 @ 12:32pm

When working in the area a few years back I fell in love with this beach, I had no idea about the sharks for quite a few visits, once fellow workers told me the beach took on a new feel! but I continued going only to stay in for short times, especially at the Canaveral National Seashore. The beach and the local people are great, reminds me of what the Jersery shore was like 20 years ago. If you get the chance go and enjoy.
   comment# 88   - Paul · NY NY · Dec 6, 2011 @ 4:49pm

Look how long his toes are - no self-respecting shark would pass up on those tender vittles.
   comment# 89   - Mitch Mitchell · Toronto · Dec 26, 2011 @ 7:21pm

kinda scary theme i know this is something that is true but im 8 i can have nightmares but i lived in north carolina before and sharks are acutullay pretty cool and im acutully reading an AR book about sharks Rodney Fox and Raymond Short and Lester Stilwell also got bit by sharks.
   comment# 90   - chloe s. · deercreek,illinois · Feb 14, 2012 @ 3:25pm

cmon sharks are a way of life and if people are gonna complain about SEEing sharks then we might as well accept the fact that we will never go into the water or explore the world cause of dangerous creatures i mean cmon surly we can accept the fact that if we go in to the water there might be a chance of seeing a shark and not be completely disturbed by the fact and it seems to me the attention is drawn to this place because of its reputation and yet all the locals say u just have to be smart about where u swim obviously not at this inlet. a surfer myself i have had 2 encounters with sharks and both where scary and exciting but u shouldnt have to live in fear of water u might see. one encounter i got bitten on the hand and have scars to boot and by a 6 foot bull shark and the other was with a 2 meter tiger but luckly he didnt wanna fak with me so i was lucky and yet you dont see me being angry only accepting that this stuff happens. if u read this article i appreciate ur time and attention and hope my works may change ur opinions of sharks for the better
   comment# 91   - robert · Australioa · Feb 14, 2012 @ 5:20pm

I go to daytona beach every year around april and i have never actually seen one. i love the ocean. yes true they are home of fish, sharks, jellyfish, ect. but i have been going there for about 10 years and only been hurt once. not sure if it was a baby shark that nippled or a sharp item. i came out and had a lil cut. but that was like 8 years ago and never had a problem since. i have seen lots of dolphins. very beautiful! they were jumping in and out of water and rolling in the waves. never EVER seen a shark. i have seen dead baby shark and lots of dead jellyfish wash upon shore.. but i would def. say there is no worries about daytona beach. very quiet and pretty!
   comment# 92   - Kaylee · Fort Wayne, IN · Feb 17, 2012 @ 8:41am

It's not so bad getting your arm takin off your kinda paralyzed it happens to means now look at me I'm a cool girl out in the water
   comment# 93   - Sharky · Mb · Mar 23, 2012 @ 12:25pm

Why am I leaving a comment? Is it because I find the reporters use of question, after question, after question, after question, followed by inane answer, after inane answer anoying? Is it because having introduced the story with one question the continued use of interogatories became excessively trite? Is it that I hope the reporter - or at least his PC - is devoured by a shark? Is it? Is it? Is it?
   comment# 94   - Mac · Timboctou · Feb 24, 2013 @ 3:01pm

The "Jaws" movie theme music - did anybody out there hear the London Symphony Orchestra play that music when they were in Daytona - oh my gosh! The LSO actually were the ones that recorded the music for the movie - at the live concert, after the first "duh, dun ..." EVERYBODY started screaming and laughing, recognizing the Jaws music - we were all ready to start running - it was hysterical and fun - So strange people don't mention hearing that music in the water ... Although, at my check-out dive for my scuba certification, my instructor put ...
   comment# 95   - Joan · Orange City, USA · May 7, 2013 @ 11:09pm

I moved away from Florida in the late 70's, but I spent the better part of my childhood in Volusia. Back then it was certainly common knowledge that there were plenty of sharks in NSB and even further north up the Halifax toward Tomoka. I never saw a bull shark that far north, but in 1975 my younger brother hooked and landed a small (about 2') hammerhead off the NE sea-wall of the original Granada bridge.
   comment# 96   - Dave · Charlotte, NC · May 27, 2013 @ 9:33am
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