Great White Shark Takes Enormous Bite Out Of Surfboard, Spares Human

Today in Possibly The Scariest Fucking Thing Ever: surfer Elinor Dempsey was riding waves at Morro Strand State Beach when a great white shark decided it was in the mood for something tougher than human flesh and took a 14-inch wide bite out of her board.


Dempsey, thankfully, escaped unharmed. And according to CBS News, she demonstrated extraordinary calm and logic in the moment: “Dempsey pushed the board toward the shark as she jumped off.” Fellow surfers helped her to retrieve her board, though I’m not sure how one repairs a shark bite the size of a watermelon.

“I might sell it to the highest bidder,” she cracked to the San Luis Obispo Tribute.

Researchers are examining the bite to determine the size of the shark. Shark researcher Ralph Collier explains that “the bite on Dempsey’s board likely only represents the upper portion of the jaw.”

“The bite might only be 30 percent of the actual jaw,” he tells the Tribune. “You could be looking at an animal 13 to maybe 15 feet.”

Holy moly. Pardon me while I hug the shoreline for the rest of my life.

Dempsey, however, is not a weenie like yours truly, and while she is understandably “shaken,” she plans to continue surfing. In fact, she claims that life threatening peril was not the worst part of her day.


“I didn’t get a wave,” she bemoaned. “That’s the worst part — I got no waves.”

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Video via YouTube.


Stephan Zielinski

. . . when a great white shark decided it was in the mood for something tougher than human flesh . . .

What, Styrofoam?

More importantly, the notion that Great Whites are even vaguely interested in eating people is horror movie and “Shark Week” nonsense. Great Whites ordinarily prey on marine mammals— big, tough, toothed and clawed marine mammals, capable of putting up far more of a fight in the water than can an unarmed human. If a Great White was genuinely interested in eating a person in the water, there would be no contest.

There are two reasons so many folks survive Great White bites. (1) They’re seldom all-out attacking. Were they, they’d hit us the way they hit seals. (There’s a (non-embeddable) video available at National Geographic: Great White Shark vs. Seals.) What Great Whites are actually doing when they bite people or our artifacts is they’re trying to figure out what they are. (2) To a Great White, humans have lousy mouthfeel— too much bone, likely with some rubber and neoprene mixed in. The sharks spit us out and wander off in search of something more edible.

If sharks routinely preyed on people, the number of shark attacks per year would be going up— since human population is increasing and getting wealthier, with wealthier people spending more time at the beach. The reality is shark attacks are holding steady at 55-83 per year, with the number of fatalities also holding at 1-13. See SAF Statistics for the World Locations with the Highest Shark Attack Activity (2005-2014).

However, humans do eat sharks; shark finning is at least a half billion dollar per year industry, killing 23-73 million sharks per year. This means many sharks are now threatened, at grave risk of going extinct. Including the Great White.