A teenager from New Zealand successfully defended herself from a shark attack recently, escaping without even requiring stitches. As a shark-o-phobe and avid beach swimmer, I find this news both terrifying and reassuring.
Lydia Ward was splashing around in waist-deep water with her brother when the shark suddenly appeared beside her and bit into her side. Before she had time to think, the tough 14-year-old started smashing the shark over the head with her boogie board. The stunned gray beast swam away.
Ward had read about a surfer who fought off a shark in the same manner, using her surfboard. “That’s what she did,” Ward said, “and that’s what you’re meant to do.” Important knowledge that one hopes to never have to use.
The attack happened at Oreti Beach on the country’s South Island, and was mostly likely perpetrated by a broad-nosed seven gill shark, a species which last attacked an Oreti Beach swimmer in 1999.
Somewhat sadly, the attacks seems to have scared Lydia, an ocean lover and former competitive swimmer, from beach swimming in the future. I’m sure her parents are relieved that she’s not diving back into the waters at Oretti Beach, but maybe someday she’ll be able to face the waves somewhere with fewer shark sightings.
Photo: Huffington Post