What A Shark Sees When Attacking Humans On Surfboards

Many people out there with the misconception that sharks attack surfers because they see them as competitors. The truth is that sharks are not attacking surfers. They are just hunting for prey.

They attack surfboards because when a surfer paddles out to sea, the water breaks in front of him. It sends vibrations through the ocean floor.

This alerts nearby sharks that there’s food around. If you want to find out what a shark sees when attacking humans on surfboards, continue reading this article.


Sharks, most commonly, will attack a surfer because it thinks that he is food. Also, the surf board resembles the fish scales which also attracts the predators. It is also very similar to a turtle or a seal, and the shark will not be able to make up the difference.

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They Mistake Us For Food:

It is the most common cause of shark attacks involving a surfer. A shark will attack a surfer because it thinks he is food. Or else wants to test him out as possible prey for later on.

Sharks are fascinating creatures that dominate the seas and oceans in the world. Here are some interesting facts about them:

  • There are more than 500 different species of sharks
  • They have electric senses
  • While the US sees more shark attacks than any other country, there are few fatalities
  • Whale sharks are the biggest fish in the sea

When surfers paddle through the water on their boards, they create turbulence that alerts nearby sharks that there’s potential prey.

The splashing of the water and vibrations of surfers paddling through is welcoming for almost all sharks unless they’ve encountered humans in the past.

Surfers are more likely to be attacked by a shark when they paddle out alone versus surfing with others. Surfing at dusk or dawn is also highly risky since it’s when sharks hunt for food most actively.

So they are prepared with an extra boost of energy and are more alert. Some days you can see hundreds of surfers in the water. But only one might get attacked by a shark that day because he was alone and thus more vulnerable.

They Are Attracted To The Shape Of A Surfboard:

The surfboard color resembles fish scales that attract predators who think they’re about to have an easy meal. There’s not much information that can answer why these attacks occur. However, you should always know that the chances of it happening to you are very slim.

Surfer Safety Tips: 

When surfing, always stay with your group. It’s very important when there are strong currents and sharks love hunting in those areas. Whenever possible, surf near other people or go with an experienced local surfer who knows their waters.

Be aware of your surroundings. If you see a school of fish or dolphins, it’s best to get out as soon as possible. These are the signs that sharks too might be lurking around in the same area. However, avoid swimming at night since this is when they hunt most often.

Don’t surf with many shiny objects like jewelry because sharks can detect their reflection from far away. Just stay smart and take responsibility. Sharks will not intentionally attack humans. They only do so when they feel threatened by our presence at times in their hunting grounds.

If you are attacked by a shark, here are some safety tips you should follow:

  • Defend yourself and fight the shark. If you think about playing dead, it won’t work.
  • Use your surfboard or dive gear to avoid using your bare hands to attack the shark.
  • If you have to use your hands, focus on the eyes, nose and gills of the shark.
  • Make sudden movements and display aggressive behavior.

It is important to note that sharks are not the only predators in the ocean. Other animals like killer whales and even jellyfish can sometimes attack people. You should always be aware of your surroundings whenever you enter the ocean.

Try and avoid surfing alone in the ocean when possible. If you do have to surf by yourself, stay closer to shore and away from deep waters where sharks are more likely to be hunting.

Sharks are just hunting for prey. If you take preventive measures, their attacks should not happen. It is important to be mindful of the dangers that lurk in the deep waters. Don’t fret because they were here before us and know how to navigate their ways.

What Is The Real Reason They Attack Humans?

There are many theories for this that range from mistaken identity to territorialism. Specifically, sharks might mistake a person swimming near the water’s surface for seals.

Some scientists claim that an attack on humans is instinctive behavior. More often than not, shark attacks on humans are cases of mistaken identity.

However, the most commonly accepted reason for attacks is that sharks mistake people for their natural prey. Attacks increase in the presence of chumming (throwing fish scraps into the water to attract fish).

No one can say with certainty why these attacks occur. Shark researchers largely agree that most attacks do not result from any aggressive motives.

It is due to recent studies showing that the presence of divers tends to calm sharks down. These studies show that sharks don’t appear as often when divers are in the water and increase when people leave.

It suggests a causal effect between the presence of human activity and shark attacks.

It is made evident by research that shows that nearly 90% of incidents result from unprovoked attacks. Humans either accidentally swim into a shark or otherwise cross their paths.

The great white shark is the primary species involved in unprovoked attacks and is considered the most aggressive. Coupled with their large size and tendency to feed near divers, they can be particularly dangerous.

However, great white sharks only account for a small number of this kind of attack. Most shark attacks are by other types of sharks, such as tiger sharks and bull sharks.

This phenomenon is most likely hardwired into the shark’s behavior due to their evolution as a species. As naturally occurring predators of humans, they have long been accustomed to our activities in the sea.

They know that we sometimes share their territory. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t attack you if you get in their way.

why do sharks attack humans on surfboards

Many things can attract a shark while surfing, but here are some of the most common:

1) Sharks usually come close to shore at low tide to hunt for food. Low water makes it easier to spot their prey as they swim near or on the surface, waiting for food.

3) Surfers can also attract sharks because of their scent. If the blood from injuries mixes with saltwater, it produces an attractive smell for sharks. This could lead them to come closer during low tides.

4) Sharks can sense electromagnetic pulses in water (known as “Ampullae of Lorenzini”). If a surfer’s board hits a wave hard enough for there to be physical vibrations, sharks may find that noise attractive.

Additionally, it’s been speculated that sharks prefer warm waters and have an easier time catching prey in daylight. 

Sharks have evolved into apex predators, and humans are not part of their natural diet. Many sharks will show signs that they’re agitated before attacking, like swimming erratically.

They’re more likely to attack humans than anything else if they feel cornered. It’s obvious why sharks often mistake things for prey, like surfboards. It can also be due to illness or old age that causes sharks to lose their ability to hunt efficiently.

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