Florida Surfer Survives Shark Bite, Hits the Bar Instead of the Hospital
Most people fear sharks. Most people would swim away in fear at the sight of one. And most people would go to the hospital if they were bitten by one. But Frank O’Rourke, a 23-year-old professional surfer, isn’t most people.
On Saturday, O’Rourke was reportedly enjoying a little surf session with friends in Jacksonville, Florida. However, around 3:30 p.m., while waiting for the next set to roll in, O’Rourke felt some rather powerful jaws bite down on his right arm. Those jaws, The Orlando Sentinel reported, belonged to a 3-to-4-foot blacktip shark.
Luckily for O’Rourke, the shark decided to let go almost immediately after biting down on him.
“Shark comes out of the water and grabs onto my arm, right by my elbow. Kinda tugs a little bit and thrashes,” he told ABC News. “I guess it tasted me and was like, ‘Nope.'”
The entire incident was even caught on a local surf camera as well as witnessed by his friend, RJ Berger.
“It was kind of panic, like, ‘Did that just happen?'” Berger told ABC News. “It kind of took him a couple seconds to gather himself and realize, like, ‘Wow, I just got bit by a shark.’ And then we all went into the beach.”
After the surfers hit the beach, O’Rourke’s friends suggested he go to a nearby hospital to get checked out. O’Rourke declined and decided to hit up a local bar to regale people with his shark tales instead.
“He immediately went to a bar because he was like, ‘I got bit by a shark,’ and people were like, ‘I’ll buy you drinks!’ So he went and hung out at the pier,” Berger told News4Jax.
Still, neither Berger nor O’Rourke have any fear of getting back into the water.
"It's inevitable, it's going to happen," Berger told WLWT5. "It's happened to a couple of my friends. It doesn't bother you, but I mean, if it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen. There's nothing much you can do to really stop that, so try not to worry about it."
Berger may indeed be onto something, at least when it comes to not fearing the ocean predators. There were just 84 unprovoked shark attacks around the globe in 2016, according to the International Shark Attack File. As the Florida Museum also noted, sand on the beach kills more people than sharks each year. So really, be more afraid of what’s on the beach than what’s in the water.