Surfer Bitten by Shark in Bali

A surfer has been bitten by a shark in Bali.

Bull shark photo:NEFSC/NOAA
Bull shark photo:NEFSC/NOAA

Ryan Boarman,  from San Diego, CA,  was out at Balian in western Bali around 7 am Sunday, when he sustained injuries to his forearm and elbow. Despite his wounds, he was able to catch a wave back into shore.

Balian resident Twiggy Van Ryan told Stab Magazine “I was having breakfast at the Warung in front of the break at the rivermouth. I saw Ketut (local surfer) heading towards the shoreline and saw the guy coming in holding his elbow. At first I thought he’d hit the bottom and maybe dislocated his shoulder or something. His girlfriend came running up saying it was a shark attack, so I gave her my singlet and followed her back down the beach.”

The area of the incident was close to a river mouth, which led Mr. Van Ryan to suggest a bull shark may have been the species responsible for the bite. The shark probably attacked from behind as the surfer was lying on his surfboard with his arms in the water waiting for a wave.  The shark, which Boarman’s father Bill said his son thought was around 6 feet long, most likely saw a part of Boarman’s arm or elbow was a fish.

Van Ryan added “It was a pretty heavy wound, maybe four inches either side of the tip of the elbow, basically his whole elbow had gone into the sharks mouth and it was pretty badly damaged as the shark pulled back. Really messy. We wrapped the wound properly and he went into shock – kind of a short blackout. Then the locals and myself tied the top of his arm to slow the bleeding and then got him in a car and he was taken to hospital. I think he’ll be in hospital for quite some time. It appeared that he may have escaped ligament damage, as he could still move his fingers, but there was lots of muscle torn, for sure. The local guys did a great job helping, it was a team effort. I was also stoked to see that they were first in the water today, about 20 minutes before me. It’s good to see the attack hasn’t freaked them out too much.”

He went on to tell “I guess the most unnerving thing was that there have been a few attacks up here in Bali. This one was what I would refer to as a more aggressive manner.”
The incident didn’t keep Mr. Van Ryan out of the water. He said “I just thought it was important to get into the water otherwise the shark might have got a foot bigger in my mind every hour. At the end of the day it was the old ‘lightning strikes’ thing. Up here we’re used to it. You’re going to put your life in your hands a lot more on the ride up here than you do in the water. For me the situation in the water is not a big deal.”

Mr. Van Ryan said that he had spoken to friends of the surfer who had was out of surgery and there was no ligament damage, but did have lots of stitches, muscle tears and major bruising.

Bill Boarman said Ryan was out of surgery, but dealing with some infection.  Once he is stable enough to travel, he will be heading back to San Diego.

The location has been marked on the 2016 shark attack bites tracking map

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