Local wing foil surfer survives shark attack off Anna Maria Pier

ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 8:20 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A local wing foil surfer found herself in a scary situation while skimming the waters south of the Anna Maria City Pier. Winds pushed her south and as it did so, she felt something swimming upon her. In seconds, she was in the water and bit by a shark.

Erika Lane recounts the moments she came face-to-face with the shark as “surreal and hard to believe to this day.” She was out enjoying recent winds allowing her to skim across the waters.

As she was just south of the city pier, a shark swam up behind her board pulling it out from under her, and then it bit her leg in the process.

After falling in the water and taking the first bite, Lane stated, “I saw sharknado, like a cartoon character or Jaws coming at my face. I just didn’t know what was going on, so I was screaming with my hands in front of my face, thinking I was going to get bitten or something. Then it was gone and I looked at my wing next to me and I just jumped on it like a pool raft.”

Lane used the wing to get herself out of the water, which allowed her to realize what just happened. Moments later, her fellow boarding friends made their way over to say hi but she alerted them that she had taken a bite. Her friends assisted her to the shore where she then cleaned and covered up the wounds.

After speaking with the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum, experts told Lane, “they believe it was about a four to four-and-a-half-foot shark; either a Black Tip or a Spinner.”

Although we do not often see unprovoked attacks here on the Suncoast, Florida was ranked the top state in the U.S. for attacks in 2020. Meanwhile, the U.S. ranked as the highest attack rate in the world that year with 33 total reported, according to Florida Museum.

Florida Museum claims that from 1882 to 2020, Manatee County has reported four attacks, and seven have been reported in Sarasota County. The highest reported county, Volusia County, reported 320 during that time frame.

“The biggest thing to avoid an attack is to stay in clear water and to not isolate yourself or go swimming offshore. Probably just the basic rules, but the clear water thing is huge because there are maybe one percent of sharks who want to eat humans but I think 99% don’t. If you can let them see you, you’re probably not going to get attacked. If you are, I mean, I just always hope that it would be a situation where you could rescue yourself but try to think of how to get out of the chaos,” Lane recommended.

Erika didn’t let this experience ruin her passion as she was back out on the water the next day.

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