Surfers Say Shark Attacks Are Par for the Course

Sharks got their teeth into a half-dozen Florida surfers over the weekend, but the wave riders promise they'll be back on their boards soon enough.

"It's just a risk we're all pretty much willing to take," Jeff White, 20, told CBS' The Early Show.

Jaison Valentin, 19, the most seriously injured of the six, agreed.

"Whenever I get the chance to go back, I'm out there," he said.

A trio of surfers were bitten Sunday, only a day after sharks had sunk their teeth into three other surfers in the Daytona Beach area. Saturday's victims had jumped over or made their way around a swarm of sharks to go surfing. None of the attacks was life-threatening.

Blacktip and spinner sharks were responsible for the attacks on Sunday, said Joe Wooden, deputy beach chief for Volusia County.

Minor shark attacks are fairly common in the popular surfing area south of Daytona Beach where the weekend attacks happened. Six of seven attacks in one week in April came on the same stretch of beach.

A 17-year-old surfer was bitten on the left foot Sunday off Wilbur-by-the-Sea. She was treated and released from a hospital, but her name was not released

Five miles away in New Smyrna Beach, two surfers were bitten within a minute of each other. Becky Chapman, 17, was bitten in the left calf Sunday. While listed in good condition, she was expected to undergo surgery. Another surfer, Robert Kurrek, 32, was bitten in the right foot, and treated and released from a hospital. A one-mile stretch of beach was closed following Sunday's attacks. 

Three surfers were attacked Saturday off New Smyrna Beach. White and Dylan Feindt, 19, were competing in a surfing contest when they were both bitten in the foot.  Valentin underwent surgery for a hand injury. He was listed in good condition late Sunday, officials said. 

Valentin suffered serious tendon damage when a shark bit his left hand and tried to pull him off his board. He said it happened after he lost his board to a wave.

"I saw a dorsal fin, and I just tried to get to my board as quick as possible," he said. The fin disappeared by the time he had gotten back on his board, "so I thought I was cool."

"And as I was paddling back out, I stuck my hand back in the water and it just grabbed my hand and started tugging and pulling. The next thing I know, I'm missing a nice chunk out of my skin," he said.

Of the 37 shark bites reported worldwide this year, 17 occurred in Volusia County, Wooden said. 

On a good weekend, hundreds of surfers head to New Smyrna Beach, one of the best surfing spots in Florida. Sharks are drawn to the area because it is rich in bait fish, Wooden said. 

The attacks over the weekend may have occurred because so many surfers were splashing around in the water, not because the animals are getting more aggressive, an expert on shark attacks said. 

"I don't think it indicates we're under siege or anything like that," said George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack Files at the University of Florida. "The results are almost inevitable given the conditions." 

Sharks also have been on the attack this month in the Bahamas, where two Americans were bitten in the leg. Both are recovering at a Miami hospital, one after having his leg amputated. 

An 8-year-old boy was attacked by a bull shark in July in Pensacola, on Florida's Gulf Coast. Jessie Arbogast's arm was severed and he lost nearly all his blood. The arm was reattached but Jessie remains in a light coma. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report