A Florida paddleboarder escaped without injury after she was followed by a hammerhead shark more than 35 miles off the coast of Palm Beach County.
Malea Tribble, who told FOX 35 she at first dismissed the “taps” she felt on the bottom of her board, said her husband Ricky, who was in a nearby boat, first spotted the shark.
“Based on his reaction, I knew immediately that it was a shark,” Tribble, who said she was about 30 feet from the boat when the shark was spotted, told the station. “I didn’t know how big or where exactly it was.”
She said her husband calmly guided her to the boat.
“You’re doing good, keep coming,” someone on the boat can be heard telling Tribble on video captured while she paddled toward them as the shark followed close behind.
Tribble and her husband were competing with a relay team in a charity race from the Bahamas to Lake Worth.
“I never knew I had it in me to be that calm,” Tribble added. “Just crazy to think about it all after the fact.”
Tribble said she didn’t realize how close the shark was until she watched the video later.
“I was surprised that it was bigger and much closer than I initially thought,” she said. “At one point in the video, he’s completely under my board. I also noticed how quick and sleek the movements were. The shark was seemingly just curious what I was in his house.”
The shark eventually swam away, and the team decided it was safe to finish the race.
Travis Suit, the executive director for Crossing For Cystic Fibrosis, the charity race they were competing in, said in a statement, “We are grateful Malea was not harmed and so proud of the calm and disciplined response the Tribble’s had during the situation as paddle mentors in this event, providing a great example of how to handle close encounters like this. We are visitors when we are in the ocean, it’s really their home, so it’s to be expected.”
On Monday, a 12-year-old girl swimming in Cocoa Beach survived being bitten by a shark.
“Right when I got out of the water, I just started screaming because I knew that it wasn’t good,” Magnolia Woodhead, who received 50 stitches, told FOX 35.
Woodhead was visiting the state from Pennsylvania and said she doesn’t plan to head back into the water anytime soon.
Florida’s Volusia County, north of both Lake Worth and Cocoa Beach, is known as the “Shark bite Capital of the World.”