A shark bit a Kayak paddle in Florida over Labor Day weekend.
Drew Trousdell was enjoying a day on the water in the Matanzas Inlet in St. Johns County when he encountered a shark, and learned a nifty lesson during the experience.
“I had to paddle out a little bit farther than I normally would to catch the bigger waves, and that’s kind of where it happened in the middle of the channel, probably about a quarter mile offshore,” the kayak instructor told News4Jax.
As he was paddling, a five-foot black tip shark popped out of the water and bit Trousdell’s paddle.
“My heart started to beat, and you could see from the video, it was a look of disbelief,” he said. “I’m like, ‘What the heck was that?'”
It didn’t take long for Trousdell, who is an American Canoe Association Level 4 coastal kayaking open water instructor, to figure out what it was.
“You don’t expect to hit anything heavy, and it hit me hard and quick, and it took a minute to reconcile it had to be a fish obviously, but what else would attack like that? Immediately, a shark came to mind,” he said.
Then, surprisingly enough, 15 seconds later, the shark struck again.
“I have encountered orcas. I’ve encountered humpbacks. I’ve encountered bears, alligators and I’ve seen sharks at Matanzas as I’ve surfed there, much bigger sharks than this guy, but generally speaking, they don’t seem to pay much attention to you,” Trousdell said.
Sometimes sharks will do a test bite, where they simply bite an object to see if it is edible.
“What surprised me was when I actually paddled away a little bit, he came back around again, because it was pretty clear once he had the paddle in his mouth, it’s not what he wanted, so I was surprised when he came back after it again,” he added.
While Trousdell handled the situation well by not panicking, at the time he did not have a radio or a signaling device. Even if the shark had not been present, had he capsized and not been able to recover, he could have been in serious trouble.
Although he has paddled the Matanzas Inlet around 50 times, he plans on making sure he always carries emergency supplies, including a first aid kit, a radio, signaling devices and a back up paddle.