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3.7 Million American Surfers Under Threat, as Nerve-Wracking Data Shows 97% Great White Sharks Presence

Published 06/07/2023, 8:30 AM EDT

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Surfing is a wildly adventurous and adrenaline-inducing sport that is not bereft of its dangers in the water. From large waves to strong currents to rip tides, numerous threats pose to surfers. But none scarier than the presence of another living creature, possibly with the strongest jaws, lurking beneath the waters. Along similar lines, recent data suggests there seems to be a sporadic increase in the number of Great White Sharks swimming in the waters of California. This meant that around 97% of the time, a shark is lurking somewhere nearly 50 yards from a surfer.

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Surfing injuries, gruesome and horrific at times, are far more frequent in a surfer’s life. But the idea of a shark nearby, as less frequent as they are comparably, still takes the cake in terms of fear-induced. The fear just increased by a huge percentage as per the new data.

Why surfing in America may not remain the same anymore


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Millions of people around the globe partake in surfing. Besides the USA, countries like South Africa, Australia, Brazil, and other coastal-heavy nations are big into surfing. Hawaii, the 50th state of the US, is one of the prime locations of the sport, which has also produced some of the finest surfers in the world. 23 million people approximately surf internationally, out of which 3.72 million are Americans, as per Gitnux.

These 3.72 million surfers might find it increasingly difficult now to muster up the courage and enter any Californian waters. As per Surfer magazine, findings from Cal State Long Beach’s Shark Lab show that an increasing number of Great White Sharks are getting closer and closer to surfers.


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READ MORE – Ocean Swimming Icon, Who Made the Headlines by Completing ‘The Swim From Hell,’ Miraculously Escaped a Great White Shark Attack in 2014

Southern California surf spots include San Diego and Santa Barbara, which also double up as famous swimming beaches. Locals and tourists flock to these areas very frequently and in large numbers. The recent study could mean a temporary change in the way these beaches are to be frequented.


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Sharks attack while surfing for a reason

Patrick Rex, the publisher of the study, said, “The juvenile white sharks were often observed within 50 yards of where the waves break…” Besides surfers, even paddle-up boarders, who generally stay in shallow waters, will now be in extremely close proximity to a shark. Surfers, swimmers, and water boarders alike often do not get to see a shark lurking beneath them in the waters, until they are too close and it’s too late. Sharks, on the other hand, attack surfers since they mistake them to be their favorite food.

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Wildlife expert Forest Gallante once explained that surfers on their board, with their limbs dangling, look like sea turtles to a shark from underneath, their favorite food. Therefore they make the attack. While an immediate and obvious solution is not found to this increasing threat, surfers are required to be more cautious before entering into treacherous waters, literally.

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Tanmay Roy

752 articles

Tanmay Roy is a sports writer at EssentiallySports specializing in his coverage of the Olympics and other major American sporting events. His passion for sports was ignited by the early achievements of Michael Phelps, Pete Sampras, and John McEnroe. As a writer for EssentiallySports, Tanmay's articles have been recognized as Editor's Picks, showcasing his ability to craft engaging and thought-provoking stories.

Edited By: Purva Jain