Georgia Surf Instructor Gets Attacked By Shark While Teaching Kids: ‘More Than Lucky’

by Shelby Scott

Georgia surf instructor, Atsushu Yamada, was attacked by a shark on Tuesday while instructing a class of young surfers. The owner of Hot Sushi’s Happy Surf Camp located on Tybee Island told WBRC he was “sitting on his board helping one of his students back to shore when a shark bit him on the leg.” According to the People article, he tried to remain calm as he didn’t want to scare any of the students.

Unlike other shark attack victims, Yamada was very lucky as he got away from the encounter with his limb intact. “It could have been much, much worse,” he shared. The surf instructor escaped with only three gashes to his leg and several stitches. He said he paddled back to shore and was able to wrap his leg. Meanwhile, he waited for lifeguards to call an ambulance. Yamada also expressed he was grateful he was the only one in the water at the time and that no one else got hurt.

Yamada holds no resentment toward the shark and hopes to be back in the water very soon despite the attack. “I feel more alive,” he told WBRC. He further stated that he has a new outlook on life and that he wants “to do more.” He admitted he realizes sharks are the ones who inhabit the sea. He also knows shark encounters are definitely possible when in the water, and in his profession in particular. “We are strangers in the seawater,” he told the station, “we [should] all respect our Mother Nature.”

Advocates Seek to Rebrand Shark ‘Attacks’ as ‘Interactions’

Surfers and ocean lovers such as Yamada often walk away from shark attacks with greater respect for the apex predators. Additionally, they hold no resentment toward the animals, although there are others who seek revenge and hold grudges against them. In a previous article, shark advocates and scientists in Australia are pushing to rename “shark attacks” as “shark encounters.” The movement arose to downplay the severity of the shark encounters as many, like Yamada’s encounter, are not lethal.

According to the article, officials in Queensland and New South Wales now use terms such as shark “bites” or “negative encounter.” It further removes the suggestion of a shark possessing a demonic nature from the statement. It also emphasizes that these creatures are simply inhabiting their own environment. Further, it creates less animosity toward the creatures in the media. In this way, it better protects them from those who wish to capture and harm them.

The article further detailed how shark attacks were originally referred to as “shark accidents.” That was until the 1930s with the advent of shark nets, according to the University of Sydney’s Christopher Pepin-Neff. The researcher further called “shark attacks” a lie. He pointed out over a third of incidents result in no injury at all. Additionally, sharks frequently swim near humans without the humans even realizing they’re there.