Shark comes face-to-face with surfer jumping off wave and bites him, Florida officials say

A surfer off New Smyrna Beach was bitten on the face by a shark, Florida officials told news outlets.

The surfer, a 38-year-old man from South Carolina, was in the inlet of the beach just before 8 a.m. on Sept. 12 when it occurred, WESH reported.

As the surfer was jumping off a wave, he came face-to-face with a shark, safety officials told WKMG.

The shark, likely startled, bit the man on the face on his right cheek, leaving about a 2-inch laceration, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

Ron Robinson, a longtime surfer in the area, told WESH he saw sharks at the beach that morning.

“Nine out of 10 times it’s because (the surfer will) fall in the shallow water, and they’ll spook the shark, and it’s a reaction bite,” Robinson told the outlet.

The surfer was taken to the hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

The incident marks the seventh shark bite at New Smyrna Beach this year, according to WKMG.

The beach has gained notoriety as the “shark bite capital of the world,” brought on by the consistency and high number of negative interactions with sharks there.

Florida leads the country in shark bites, according to the Florida Museum, and an average of nine bites occur at New Smyrna Beach alone each year.

New Smyrna Beach is about 50 miles northeast of Orlando.

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