On his last wave of the day on Tuesday, chiropractor Don Walsh decided to do something he’d never done before – throw an air. And the fact that when he came down he landed on a 6-foot bull shark and not his board, it might be a while before he tries the trick again.
The Florida surfer suffered bites to four fingers of his left hand and his left calf and shin. Although terrifying, thankfully the injuries weren’t life-threatening.
“I never really try to throw an air, but I tried to throw one,” chiropractor Donald Walsh, 40, told Orlando’s WKMG-TV. “Didn’t land it, landed on a shark instead, and he decided to take a bite out of me. It felt like a freight train hit me and the first thing I could think of was to literally push him away from me. As soon as it happened, I grabbed my board and started to paddle as fast as I could.”
He was treated by paramedics on the scene after the attack, which happened in waist-deep water, and did not require a hospital visit.
“I’ll be back in the ocean as soon as the wounds close up.” Walsh added, “but I’ll definitely be a little more cautious.”
New Smyrna Beach is in Volusia County, which is considered the shark attack capital of the world. According to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File, Volusia had 17 confirmed bites in 2007, more than anywhere else on the globe. It broke that record the next year, with 24 confirmed bites. It was also the world leader in 2017 with nine attacks. There have been four bites this month alone and 11 so far this year, according to the Huffington Post.