NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Wing foil surfer bitten by shark near Anna Maria City Pier

Posted at 9:04 PM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 21:12:08-05

ANNA MARIA, FLA. — A wing foil surfer was bitten by a shark near the Anna Maria City Pier.

The incident happened on December 22. Erika Lane said she felt a vibration underneath her board and fell into the water.

"My board was actually pulled out from under me and at that moment, I hit the water. I was bitten. It didn't really hurt. It pinched and it was shocking," said Erika Lane.

Lane said she got back onto her board and made it to shore.

"I looked down. At that moment, I saw the teeth marks and the blood running down the side of my wet suit," she said.

Lane said her injury did not require stitches. She went to a drug store to buy peroxide.

"I was just extraordinarily lucky. It's such a freak incident that I was never scared of or worried about ever happening," said Lane.

Lane said she bought waterproof bandages and returned to the water the next day. She started wing foiling about 2 years ago. It is a wind sport where she balances on a board and holds onto an inflatable wing.

Tyler Bowling, manager of the Florida Program for Shark Research, said Lane was likely bitten by a blacktip shark.

shark bite'.jpg

"The majority of Florida shark bites are from the small coastal sharks usually blacktip sharks. They are around 4 to 5 feet in length. They hang out very close to shore. They hunt in the surf where they're going after small bait fish. Unfortunately, the surf is very murky and they can't see well in it.

Bowling said these sharks find food near the shore and hide from larger sharks.

"They'll hunt based on movement so if they see something flashing say somebody's foot or a piece of jewelry or something, they'll react to it thinking it could be a meal," said Bowling.

Bowling said they keep a record of shark bites across the world in the International Shark Attack File. He said the odds of being bitten by a shark are extremely rare.

"The risk is already extremely low. This is not something worth worrying about," he said.

Bowling recommends not swimming at dawn or dusk. He also suggests not wearing jewelry in the water.

"Avoid wearing jewelry. Remember, it kind of mimics a fish scale. Avoid splashing for long periods of times in one place. It creates a low frequency sound. The shark might come to check it out," said Bowling.

"Volusia is the shark bite capital of the world so it's hard to compare anywhere to Volusia so this is an odd location, but not unheard of," added Bowling.