A surfer who had previously tempted fate by referring to himself as “shark bait” was hospitalized after a shark bit him.
Joel Mason, 36, was out for an early morning surf at Scotts Beach about 300 miles north of Sydney when he was attacked by a shark. According to Australia’s Nine News, he managed to swim to safety and a passer-by saw him and called for help.
He was treated at the scene and then flown to a nearby hospital for further treatment. He suffered a “severe leg injury” and “a lot of blood loss,” but is now in stable condition.
Shark attacks are extremely rare, even in Australia which has some of the highest number of reported shark bites. (According to data from Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, there have been 16 “unprovoked” shark bite incidents in 2018. ) Still, there is some risk of surfing in the ocean, and Mason reportedly was well aware of them.
His father, Rob Mason, told Nine News that his son has surfed since he was 5 or 6 years old, and loves to surf by himself, even though he knows there is potential danger. “He says he’s shark bait, but he’s prepared to take the risk — and he does,” he said. He added that he doesn’t expect the shark attack to change his son’s love of surfing: “He may not go surfing by himself as often (after the attack) but I figure he still will.”