Despite the widespread fright induced by “Jaws” and countless other nature-strikes-back films starring sharks, they have much more to fear from our kind than we do from them.
And while those ravenous denizens of the deep have a home-team advantage over people in the ocean, there are ways to protect yourself against a shark attack.
For instance, as The Lihue Garden Island newspaper reported, Jeff Horton was waiting for a wave off Pila’s Beach in Kauai on Oct. 20 when, according to him and other witnesses, a large tiger shark bit off a chunk of his surfboard.
Mr. Horton, a 25-year-old whose workouts include boxing, told the Island that after the finned intruder knocked him off his board, “I rolled to the top of the shark and punched it in the mouth and got one shot in the eye. I thought I was going to die unless I put up the best fight I ever had.”
Then he jumped back on his board and paddled as quickly as he could toward shore, all the harrowing while watching “the shadow of its belly following me underneath.”
Fortunately, the shark didn’t repeat its attack.
Maybe it didn’t like the surfboard’s taste or that human’s smell.
Mr. Horton, who suffered minor scratches on his knuckles and legs, said he still plans “to surf the rest of my life.”
Yet he also conceded: “I’m lucky to be here.”
Hey, as any football coach can tell you, good luck is what happens when preparation meets with opportunity.
So if you dare venture into the briny deep, prepare to seize the opportunity of self-preservation by punching sharks if necessary.
And find reassurance in the knowledge that few folks in these coastal parts have seen any 12-foot tiger sharks swimming in their midst lately.
Still, as murky as the waters are around here, who really knows what lurks beneath our waves?
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