Over the weekend, a shark got too close for comfort as a young surfer competed in Florida while his mother watched on in horror.
11-year-old Tanner Brasol was one of many surfers competing at the Gnarly Charley Grom Surf contest. The surf competition was held at Satellite Beach in Florida on Saturday. Yet officials had to pause the event due to shark sightings close to the competitors. In fact, spectators spotted multiple sharks feeding on a nearby baitball, but a shark took an interest in one surfer in particular.
As parents, organizers, and spectators noticed the sharks in the surrounding waters, they yelled warnings at the surfers. Brasol seemed to be furthest from shore, but thankfully his quick thinking took over. The 11-year-old surfer quickly pulled his arms and legs out of the water. He then paddled to shore without extending his limbs into the water as to not attract the sharks.
“Oh, he’s right there!” a bystander is overheard saying in the video. “[The shark] was right there in that wave with him.”
Thankfully, no one was hurt at the surf contest as all riders returned to shore safely. Event organizers then delayed the restart of the competition 45 minutes to make sure the sharks had moved on. Once the baitball dispersed and no shark could be seen, officials resumed the event.
Tanner Brasol and His Mother React to the Shark Encounter
Tanner Brasol spoke to local channel News6 about the close encounter. He admitted the situation frightened him since the large fish may have been territorial over the bait. But he kept his cool under the circumstances.
“I was very scared,” Tanner said to News6. “I was just like, this is not good. That shark, he’s not happy that I was in his bait. He thought I was competition for that bait.”
“If you stay calm around sharks they won’t attack,” Tanner added. “Keep your feet and hands out of the water. I didn’t want to get knocked out [of the competition] and I knew I was not gonna get bit. It’s just not that common to get bit. The sharks, they’re not after you; they’re more scared of humans.”
However, seeing the shark near her young son terrified Tanner’s mother, Kelly Brasol. While speaking to New6, she told the outlet that her “heart stopped” while watching him paddle to shore.
“My heart stopped,” Kelly Brasol said to News6. “He got the part where everything was finally a little bit of a relief. That’s where the video that you see picks up where Tanner had just gotten out of the bait pod. What was still terrifying, though, is you could still see in the video one of the sharks was very interested in him and continued to follow him.”
Tanner thought about withdrawing from the contest. No one would’ve blamed him if he did. Yet he persevered and went on to win first place in his division.