And You Are Afraid of Sharks…a list of real reasons to fear the surf!
And You are afraid of Sharks?!
Ever since JAWS was released swimmers, surfers, and ocean dwellers have feared sharks…I taught surfing lessons for 7 years at UCSD and every year and in every surfclass I ran the shark subject came up.
Are there sharks out there?
Will they attack us?!
I always tell the truth. “Yes, there are sharks in the ocean but No they will not attack.” Obviously there are shark attacks and they are not a laughing matter. However, shark attacks are not a common occurrence.
According to the shark research committee,
There have been 111 shark attacks reported from California between 1950 and 2005, with *10 fatal.
Sharks are in the ocean and many surfers have encountered them however the point of this blog is that surfers new and old should probably have more concern with the reckless Funboarder or the non leash wielding weekend warrior than potential shark danger.
Are the shark fears behind you now?
Are you searching for more reasons to fear the ocean?
For your enjoyment I have put together a list of other reasons to FEAR the ocean…
“Candiru” Better Known As…The Penis Fish!
The candirú parasitizes other fish. It swims into the gill cavities of other fish, erects a spine to hold itself in place, and feeds on the blood in the gills, earning it a nickname as the “vampire fish of Brazil”. In 2004, research determined that candirú do not suck blood, but rather latch on to an artery and have blood pumped into them.
It is feared by the natives because it is attracted to urine,and if the bather is nude it will swim into an orifice (the vagina and even the penis—and deep into the urethra) and because of spines protruding from the fish, it is almost impossible to remove except through surgery. The fish locates its host by following a water flow to its source and thus urinating while bathing increases the chance of a candirú homing in on a human urethra. Natives have also been known to bathe facing the current, as doing so would decrease the chances of the organism lodging itself in the rectum. Other orifices such as the penis or vagina are covered up with the use of hands.
Surfing Alligators (and Crocodiles)
Alligators don’t surf but they hang out at beaches…
They are notorious around Costa Rica river mouths in the Playa Hermosa and surrounding areas. This was made famous in the Witch’s rock excerpt from endless summer 2 where they referenced “floating logs”
Alligators don’t just show up in the surf in tropical Central America. For all you Georgia surfers…
Alligators in Georgia usually remain in the marshes, but can be found occasionally on the beaches — especially on Georgia’s barrier islands. Sometimes, you’ll see a set of tracks leaving the ocean and ambling up the beach. Don’t be fooled by an alligator sitting frozen nearby — they can sprint 30 mph if they need to, and you cannot run nearly that fast. Alligator’s cousin the croc are also found in Australia and Indonesia. The surfing Croc featured was found in Queensland, Australia.
Sea snakes are confined to the tropical oceans, chiefly the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean.
All fifty or so species of sea snakes are venomous. They have short hollow fangs near the front of the upper jaw. The venom is composed of powerful neurotoxins and sometimes myotoxins with a fatal dose being about 1.5 milligrams. Most sea snakes can produce 10-15 mg of venom. Unlike land snakes, however, sea snakes are not inclined to bite humans, and as such are harmless unless abused. Sea snake venom is generally more toxic and dangerous than venom from land snakes. However, sea snakes have a less efficient venom injection apparatus as compared to land snakes, vipers or cobras
A sea snake’s paddle-shaped tail is useful for swimming, but otherwise these reptiles look very much like their land cousins, even down to the forked tongue they use during their searches.
Most cases of people being bitten by sea snakes involve fishermen bitten when sorting through a catch from a net.
What would you do if you came face to face with one of these?!!!
Box Jellyfish: The deadliest venom in the animal kingdom!
Box jellies use powerful venom contained in epidermic nematocysts, a structure exclusive to stinging cnidarians, to stun or kill their prey prior to ingestion, or as an instrument for defense. Their venom is the most deadly in the animal kingdom and has caused at least 5,567 recorded deaths since 1884. Most often, these fatal envenomations are perpetrated by the largest species of box jelly, Chironex fleckeri, owing to its high concentration of nematocysts, though at least two deaths in Australia have been attributed to the thumbnail-sized irukandji jellyfish (Carukia barnesi). Those who fall victim to Carukia barnesi suffer several severe symptoms known as Irukandji syndrome.
The venom of cubozoans is very distinct from that of scyphozoans, and is used to catch prey (fish and small invertebrates) and for defense from predators. Sea turtles, however, are apparently unaffected by the sting and eat box jellies.
In the Australian summer from November to April or May, box jellyfish are abundant in the warm waters of northern Australia and drive away most swimmers. However, they generally disappear during the Australian Winter. Australian researchers have used ultrasonic tagging to learn that these creatures sleep on the ocean floor between 3 pm and dawn. It is believed that they sleep to conserve energy and to avoid predators.
Cone Snail: A Snail with the Fatal Sting
The shells of cone snails are shaped like an ice-cream cone. The narrow end of the cone shell is the anterior end, and the wide end shows the usually very low spire of the gastropod shell.
These snails hunt and immobilize prey using something resembling a harpoon, which in this case is a modified radular tooth along with a poison gland containing neurotoxins.
Cone venom shows great promise as a source of new, medically important, substances.
The live animals, however, should be handled with considerable care, as all of them are capable of “stinging” humans with unpleasant results. The sting of a few of the larger species of tropical cones snails can be fatal to a human being.
The shells of cone snails are often brightly colored and intricately patterned.
Giant Squid: Calamari Anyone?
These Monsters of the deep attack sperm whales! Imagine what they could do to you if they got a hold of you on your board! They are 43 feet in legthe and weigh up to 700 pounds!
Beginner Surfers More Dangerous than a SHARK!
I know this better than most as I taught surf lessons for 7 years through college. I was a good instructor and kept my class from the masses and got them prepped on the rules of surfing. Whether you are a beginner yourself or a seasoned veteran Beginner surfers can be more dangerous than anything else in the water. Armed with a 7′6″ fiberglass torpedo, late take offs, board ditching, and snaking are common occurrences for the beginner. So be aware of crews of large armies of these foam soldiers often in organized classes and neon wetsuits. Also look out for the Solo Gun ho beginner…this beginner is sometimes armed with no wax, no leash, and a wetsuit on backwards. This surfer can be extremely dangerous.