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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Shark Bait: Teen Speaks Out After Terrifying Shark Attack

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It was a perfect storm recently at New Smyrna Beach in Florida after Hurricane Larry whipped up a strong surf. The same phenomenon that brought good waves for surfing also created a smorgasbord for local sharks.

“There’s a feeding frenzy that occurs on the beaches in the fall and as mullet and eventually other species of fish is moved out for the winter,” George Burgess, who works with the shark research program at the University of Florida, told Good Morning America.

“Of course, you throw in surfers in the middle of that surf and you’re going to have an unholy mix that most inevitably results in a bite.”

Enter 16-year-old surfer Doyle Nielsen, who experienced that inevitable result while on vacation in a video shared earlier this week.

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As he paddled, waiting for a wave, a shark approached him and bit his arm. At first, Nielsen didn’t even realize it was a shark that had hit him.

“It felt like someone on their surfboard had come full speed directly at me and hit me super hard,” Nielsen said.

“And then after somebody had yelled, ‘There’s a shark, get out of there,’ I realized what it was.”

Former surfer Sam Scribner, who suffered a spinal cord injury years ago and is now a photographer, was on site when the bite happened. Even more amazing, his camera happened to be trained on Nielsen the moment the shark tried to take a chunk out of him.

“Doyle was right in the middle of my frame and the shark just hit him,” he explained. “It was over in a matter of seconds too; it’s crazy how quickly it happened.”

He posted the video on social media, hoping to find out if the victim was all right after the encounter.

“Larry certainly brought us good waves, but apparently the true locals of Ponce Inlet weren’t happy about the crowd,” Scribner posted on Instagram.

“I’ve been trying to find out who he is to make sure that he is all good, but it appears at the end that it wasn’t too terrible. (Tag him if you know him)

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“I certainly don’t want to villainize sharks, this is something that’s all too common in the waters around New Smyrna Beach. We are in their territory and sometimes those little (thankfully he was little) guys like to enact the stand your ground law. (No glocks, just teeth).”

“I sincerely hope that the kid is not too scarred from the chomp & he’s able to get back in the water as soon as possible.”

Thankfully, the shark was small, the bite caused only minor injuries and Nielsen shared his plans to return to the water — a little worse for wear, but quite a bit wiser this time.

“I’ll definitely be surfing again, but I know that it’ll affect my mindset,” he said. “I’ll be a little more cautious in the water.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking