Drew Trousdell became visibly concerned after the first violent tug on his paddle as he kayaked outside the surf recently in Florida’s Matanzas Inlet.
What could it have been but a shark?
Troudsdell picked up his pace, determined to reach the shore as quickly as possible.
But the shark kept pace, biting Trousdell’s paddle again and again. At one point the predator appears to have gone after the back of the kayak.
Trousdell, who captured the footage with a GoPro mounted on the bow of his vessel, made it to shore and later discovered that he was fortunate not to have been capsized during the tense encounter.
The shark is difficult to detect at full speed in the YouTube video, but stop-motion screen shots beginning at 1:07 reveal the shark’s head and body partially out of the water as it lunges after the paddle. Bite marks on the paddle are visible at the end of the video.
Matanzas Inlet, south of St. Augustine in St. Johns County, is a narrow channel connecting the Atlantic Ocean and the south end of the Matanzas River.
George Burgess, a renowned shark expert from Florida Museum of Natural history, told GrindTV that the shark was most likely a blacktip shark.
“It’s a fish-eating shark that no doubt interpreted the splashing of the paddle tips as movements of normal prey species,” Burgess said. “At this time of year the mullet ‘run’ is underway with thousands upon thousands of these estuarine/lagoonal species departing the shallows through inlets to mass up along the beaches prior to moving offshore to spawn.
“Sharks, tarpons, jacks, barracudas, porpoises and other larger predators take turns on this rich resource. Surfers – and yes, kayakers – take a risk when sharing these waters during the annual mullet run. We had four bites this past Sunday in Volusia and Brevard counties, all on surfers.
Three of the surfers were bitten on the hands or legs within three hours off New Smyrna Beach, in Volusia County.
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