Surfer Hit the Water, Heard 'Crunch, Crunch, Crunch'

Mark Summerset had been wary of the sharks he saw in the water
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2023 3:20 PM CDT
Updated Sep 20, 2023 12:36 PM CDT
Surfer Bitten on the Face by a Shark
Waters surrounding the jetty in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.   (Getty Images / MEGiordano_Photography)
UPDATE Sep 20, 2023 12:36 PM CDT

Mark Summerset and a friend drove through the night from Charleston, South Carolina, to New Smyrna Beach, Florida, to surf the waves left by Hurricane Lee. As earlier reported, the 38-year-old would leave having taken a shark bite to the face. He tells the Washington Post that on day one of surfing, he continually saw sharks in the water—but the other surfers seemed unbothered. He wasn't so unrattled. "I'm scared to death, but the waves are so good." Things turned less good on day two. He was about an hour in when he caught a wave, neared a jetty, and jumped into the water. "It felt like a bear trap was closing in on my face. I heard crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch," he says of the bite. He ended up with 19 stitches and said doctors told him that if the bite had landed two inches to the right, his carotid artery could have been severed, killing him.

Sep 13, 2023 3:20 PM CDT

A 38-year-old surfer jumped off his board while riding a wave in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, but the worst was yet to come. WESH reports that after entering the water Tuesday morning, Mark Summerset of South Carolina was bitten in the face by a shark, sustaining a 2-inch laceration on his right side between his ear and eye. Ocean Rescue Capt. Alex Miller said Summerset was surfing at the jetty and suffered the bite at 7:50am. "He did not see what it was but the assumption was that it was a shark," Miller told the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

"Nine out of 10 times it's because they'll fall in the shallow water, and they'll spook the shark, and it's a reaction bite," said a surfer at the scene. Summerset was treated at an area trauma center and released. It's the seventh bite recorded in Volusia County in 2023, though "there haven't been any fatalities as far back as anyone can remember," per WESH. (More shark attack stories.)

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