Florida Man Jumps Off Surfboard, Lands On Shark

cocoa beach shark

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Florida – A Florida man jumped off of his surfboard and landed on a shark on Sunday off of New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

32-year-old Stephen Michelena, of Orlando, Florida, had just caught his last wave of the day when he jumped off of his surfboard and landed on the shark.

The shark then bit the surfer on the foot which caused lacerations that were approximately 2-3 inches long.

Michelena declined ambulance transportation but had a friend drive him to the hospital instead.

Although the species of shark was not positively identified, three shark species are responsible for the majority of attacks around the Sunshine State, according to the International Shark Attack File.

Florida Shark Attack Species

Blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) are the number one species responsible for biting humans along the U.S. East Coast. This shark has black tips on its pectoral fins and grows to no more than about six feet.

Blacktip sharks can swim in just inches of water where toddlers often play. Blacktip bites are mostly non-fatal.

Bull sharks (Carcharhinus brevipinna) are responsible for most of the fatal shark attacks in Florida. They are common along the east coast of Florida and juvenile bull sharks frequent the coast from Palm Beach, Florida to Daytona Beach, Florida.

That’s because of the Indian River Lagoon, which extends along Florida’s east coast from southern Volusia County to Palm Beach County, is an important nursery habitat for baby bull sharks.

When fully grown, bull sharks reach 7 to 11 feet in length and weigh between 200 and 300 pounds.

Spinner sharks (Carcharhinus brevipinna) can grow up to 9 feet long and have a unique feeding technique of leaping into the air while spinning.

Florida Shark Attacks By Month
Florida Shark Attacks By Month
Florida Shark Attacks By Month. Credit: International Shark Attack File.

Historically,  Florida has the most shark attacks in the months of July, August, September, and October, coinciding with increased shark and human activity when the ocean water temperature is warmest.

Shark Attacks Highest In East Central Florida
Florida Shark Attacks By County
Florida Shark Attacks By County. Credit: International Shark Attack File.

Volusia County (Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach area) has the highest number of shark attacks in Florida followed by neighboring Brevard County (Cocoa Beach area).

Historically, the two counties account for nearly half of all shark attacks in Florida each year.

Researchers say that the higher number of shark bites in Florida waters closest to Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando is attributable to high aquatic recreational use by both Florida residents and tourists, including large numbers of surfers, and to the rich nature of its marine fauna.