A surfer in Bondi Beach, Australia had the shark encounter of a lifetime yesterday when a small shark leaped onto his surfboard.
In a Facebook post, Bondi Beach Rescue Lifeguards reveals that the 6-foot creature swam away almost immediately, leaving the surfer and his companion completely unharmed. The shark's species is not immediately clear.
The guards were immediately able to clear the water, ultimately determining that there was no further threat to surfers.
Despite years of rhetoric painting sharks as indiscriminate killing machines, experts say that most shark encounters are actually a case of mistaken identity–not a case of "a large monster intentionally and maliciously targeting humans."
That being said, common sense is still important. Keep in mind that you're a guest in the shark's habitat, not the other way around. Earlier this summer, marine biologist Ralph Collier shared some simple advice for staying safe around sharks:
"I would say to bathers: don't wear bright-colored bathing suits, especially those that have contrasting colors. Some sharks can see color. Don't wear jewelry. When you're in the ocean and the jewelry moves around, and the sun reflects off of it, it could be interpreted as a fish by some of these smaller sharks and they might come in thinking it's a fish in distress."
"And just use common sense. If sharks have been reported in an area, don't go in the water there. Common sense goes a long way with these animals. Never provoke a shark. So don't grab a tail. Don't try to feed them. Don't poke them with anything because you might elicit a response from them that you'll be sorry you got."