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Sharks are interesting animals that will not go after humans very often, but it can happen in certain circumstances. If you are someone that goes paddle boarding, you might be wondering if you are putting yourself at the mercy of sharks, and this is something that we are going to look at in this article.
Paddle boarding is a great hobby, but are you going to be attacked by a shark in the process? We can understand why this thought might be floating around in the back of your mind, and it is a scary thing to think about.
In this article, we are going to look at the possibility of being attacked by a shark when paddle boarding, and everything you need to know about the situation. This will help you to know what you should and shouldn’t do when you go paddle boarding, and how to stay vigilant.
Table of Contents
Do Sharks Attack Paddle Boards?
Yes, sharks do attack paddle boarders, though it is a rare occurrence. As well as paddle boarders, sharks have also been known to go after kayakers. Going into the ocean means going into a shark’s natural habitat, which is why you should always be vigilant when doing so.
There have been a few recorded incidents when it comes to sharks attacking paddle boarders, and while it doesn’t happen often, it is certainly possible. In July 2017 in California, two shark attacks occurred. The first of those attacked was on a paddle board, and the second was on a kayak.
In the first of these instances, a shark that measured at around 7 feet long made its way beneath the paddle board and was spotted by its occupant. The shark came up and took a bite with a width of seven inches out of the board, but thankfully, that paddle boarder did not have any injuries.
The kayaker was also able to remain uninjured throughout the ordeal, but the thing that these two instances have in common is that the board and kayak create a particular shape under the water that could leave a scar to believe that there is prey near the surface. So, the shark wasn’t actually after the people at all.
Do Sharks Attack Stand Up Paddle Boards?
Yes, it is possible for a shark to attack a stand up paddle board as they might mistake it for prey. This is why it is really important to be vigilant if you are out paddle boarding in the ocean.
Why Do Sharks Attack Paddle Boards?
The reason that a shark will attack a paddle board is that they have mistaken the board for prey in the form of a seal. As seen in the two instances above, the shark did not pursue the people once realizing that there was, in fact, no seal present.
After taking a bite of the paddle board, the shark had no interest in pursuing the meal, and the paddle boarder was able to flee. However, it is worth noting that this might not always be the case, and if the shark perceives you as a threat, it could attack you.
They See the Board as a Threat
Another reason why a shark might attack a paddle board is because they perceive it to be a threat that needs to be eliminated.
If you see a smaller shark, they might be intimidated and think that you on your board are a predator. This means that they could attack you for this reason to eliminate the potential threat.
If you were to do something sudden, like fall off your board, or start moving it away really quickly with the paddles, then the shark can feel threatened and this could certainly be grounds for an attack.
The Shark is Curious
While this reason might not seem so justified, the shark could simply be curious about what is going on above them. If the shark does not know what to make of you, they might just come up to the surface to investigate the situation further.
What Do You Do if You See a Shark on a Paddle Board?
Don’t stay in areas with sharks – If there has been a shark sighting, you will probably be aware of it before you get in the water, unless you are the unlucky person that happens to spot them yourself. If there has been a shark sighting near where you were going to go swimming, then it is probably best to avoid it.
However, if you do ever find yourself paddling in the ocean amidst a shark, then you should try to remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible.
Try your best to remain calm in this situation and slowly and carefully make your way to the shore. Try to avoid any erratic movements that might attract the shark.
Never try to touch the shark – This is probably something that we don’t have to tell you not to do, but the last thing that you should try is to touch the shark. If you put your hand out to touch the shark, don’t be surprised if you don’t have a hand left by the end of the encounter.
Keep controlled motions – If your movements are erratic and panicked, it is likely that you are going to confuse or anger the shark, so this is something to avoid. Ensure that your movements are controlled if ever you are around a shark.
How to Avoid Sharks When Paddle Boarding?
One of the first things that you should do is only go paddle boarding in the daytime. You will be able to spot a shark with the help of daylight, but you won’t be able to at night when it is dark.
As well as this, you should stay away from steep drop offs and sandbars,as these are areas where you are more likely to find sharks. Ultimately, the further into the water you go, the more likely you will be to encounter a shark, so stay vigilant.
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I’m an Colorado native, who learned to surf in the Pacific Northwest, and SW Canada. I live inland near the mountains now, and love to get out on my SUP. It’s weird, but I love windy, choppy days as no-one is out and I like the challenge.