We humans just love an adrenaline rush. For many of us, watching a horror movie or riding a rollercoaster is enough of a buzz, but for some that’s just not enough to get a proper thrill. That’s when you get people skydiving, base-jumping and surfing… with sharks.
Sharks actually only kill about 5 humans each year – we are more likely to experience death by vending machine or falling out of bed, but somehow buying a chocolate bar on your break at work and sleeping aren’t considered extreme sports. And so we turn to shark surfing. Naturally.
What is shark surfing?
Shark surfing is not surfing on a shark, as per the image below. It’s more like surfing very near a shark. Or multiple sharks. Because, well, some people like to do crazy things – by putting themselves in the path of potential hazards. Like sharks.
Image: surfing with sharks
Below are some of the hotspots from around the world where this extreme sport takes place:
Kahun Beach, Hawaii
This coast is home to around 40 species of shark, making it a hotspot for shark attacks. 34 have taken place they started counting in the 1800s. Situated in world famous West Maui, many a daredevil surfer ventures here to catch the enormous waves.
Image :Shark in wave
Fish Hoek Beach, South Africa
Home to the second highest number of shark-attacks in the world, Fish Hoek is popular with cage divers because of the huge number of sharks around. Surfers love South Africa because the choppy waters around the Cape are a perfect challenge… and some love combining the two.
Image :Shark photo bomb
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
This incredibly popular beach – one of the most visited in Florida – is known as the shark attack capital of the world. Luckily, the sharks themselves are spinner, tiger, and blacktip sharks – much less aggressive than the great white or the bull shark.
Image:Shark Vs Surfer
Reunion Island, Indian Ocean
This isolated island off the coast of Madagascar has over 24 shark attacks recorded since 1980. Bull sharks and tiger sharks make their home here. There was even a ban on swimming, surfing and body boarding during the summer last year after a 15 year-old girl was bitten in half, one of 12 attacks between 2011-2013. Enter at your peril.
Image :Beach close due to shark
Did you think you would avoid sharks by surfing on a lake? Think again. Bull sharks live in this large freshwater lake a few miles inland from the coast of Nicaragua, so keep a look out if you choose to surf in this lake.
Australia… all of it
Adrenaline junkies of all stripes flock to Australia. Between the dangerous wildlife, rugged terrain and extreme sports, it is a world centre for all manner of kicks. After seven fatal shark attacks in three years – including several surfers – a shark cull has been instated off the western coast of Australia. Meanwhile, the east coast has plenty of its own shark attacks to boast, with several recent attacks on surfers. World famous Bondi Beach in Sydney is both feared and revered for its shark attacks and its popular waves.