Five Sharky Locations that You Might Surf Anyway

When non-surfers ask surfers if they are afraid of sharks, the surfer will invari­ably say no. Most of the time, this is a per­fect­ly log­i­cal response. How­ev­er, there are some loca­tions – world class surf loca­tions – where a lack of shark wor­ry requires a con­gres­sion­al lev­el of cog­ni­tive dis­so­nance. Here are five great places to ignore statistics.

South­ern Africa
South Africa is a sharky place. Cape Town is full of great whites, Dur­ban is full of tiger sharks and zam­bezis (bull sharks), and the coast around Jeffrey’s Bay has a lit­tle bit of every­thing. South Africa’s East coast and Namib­ia aren’t much bet­ter. In fact in most places, you’re more like­ly to see a man­gled seal car­cass on the beach than anoth­er per­son. What about Mozam­bique? Moz’s emp­ty sand points are only home to one of the largest pop­u­la­tions of tiger sharks in the world. Unfor­tu­nate­ly for your brit­tle psy­che, South­ern Africa is home to Jeffrey’s Bay, Skele­ton Bay, New Pier, and a host of oth­er world-class spot. When these spots are fir­ing, no one is think­ing about fins. You prob­a­bly won’t get eat­en, right?

Brazil
Recife, Brazil had so many shark attacks on surfers that the gov­ern­ment actu­al­ly banned surf­ing at that par­tic­u­lar beach. Even if you don’t surf Racife (why would you?) it’s pret­ty safe to say that sharks inhab­it oth­er stretch­es of Brazil’s beau­ti­ful coast­line. You’re still going to surf it though, con­sid­er­ing Brazil gets some of the world’s great­est waves.

Gold Coast Aus­tralia
This coast has more qual­i­ty surf per square mile and more surfers per capi­ta than almost any­where else on earth. It also has lots and lots of great whites and bull sharks. But hey, there is safe­ty in num­bers — you don’t have to be faster than the shark, you just have to be faster than the guy next to you.

Hawaii
The islands are beau­ti­ful. The surf is spec­tac­u­lar. The cul­ture is amaz­ing. The sharks are plen­ti­ful. Peo­ple don’t think of sharks when they think of Hawaii, but attacks do hap­pen. That said, get­ting punched in the face for being an a‑hole is more like­ly than get­ting chomped on by a tiger shark, but surfers should still be on the look­out for lurk­ing shadows.

Flori­da
Unless it’s hur­ri­cane sea­son you’re prob­a­bly not going to trav­el to Flori­da to surf. How­ev­er, if you live there, or you end up there, as a surfer, you’ll prob­a­bly be out on the water. Flori­da is warm and con­sis­tent and while it’s not a ter­ri­ble place to be a surfer, it is the shark attack capi­tol of the coun­try. Flori­da had 26 attacks in 2012 but real­ly, the sharks in the Sun­shine State prob­a­bly wont kill you. An attack is more like­ly to pro­duce a cool scar and a cool sto­ry than it is to take a limb. Still, you need to ask your­self, is that waist high close­out real­ly worth it?