By being calm, cool, and collected, an 11-year-old surfer was able to escape a potential shark attack. Despite the harrowing shark encounter, the boy was brave and determined enough to go back to the ocean to continue to compete in a surfing contest, which he ended up winning.
We take you to Satellite Beach, Florida, where the Gnarly Charley Surf Contest took place. That’s where 11-year-old Tanner Brasol participated in the surfing competition for young surfers ages 6 to 14.
Tanner was approximately 100-feet off shore when people started screaming for the surfer to get out of the water because there was a shark in the area. There were sharks spotted feeding on a baitball close to the surfing competition, but one of the animals came dangerously close to Tanner.
Horns blared and onlookers yell at Tanner, “Come in! Come in!”
A man is heard on the video comments, “He’s big.”
Tanner doesn’t panic, he wisely tucks his feet on the board to not give the shark something to bite, and paddles his way back to the shore while keeping an eye on the shark.
“It was like a scene from a movie, almost like two submarines coming up and you see the dorsal fins and then the next thing you know it’s like (splashing noise) all over right behind Tanner; you just see the thrashing and the dorsal fins and the tails and the fish scattering and Tanner is just sitting there in the middle of it and you just see him freeze,” Tanner’s mom, Kelly Brasol, told WKMG-TV.
At one point, the silhouette of the shark can be seen in a wave only feet away from Tanner.
A man scrambles into the water to bring Tanner back to the beach.
“My heart stopped,” said the distressed mother of the close encounter with her son and the shark. “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.”
“I was very scared. I was just like this is not good,” Tanner said. “That shark he’s not happy that I was in his bait. He thought I was competition for that bait.”
“Immediately, my staff responded, pulled all the kids out of the water, put the red flag up, and stopped the contest for 45 minutes,” said Charley Hejeck, the organizer of the surfing competition. “Tanner Brasol was very calm. He acted like a professional and I was so proud of him. He knows the sharks. He pulled his feet and hands out of the water and raced to the beach.”
“A black tip or bull shark came through the lineup,” Charley Hajek told the Miami Herald. “The kids all did a great job getting to the beach. So proud of them. I tell them to always respect the ocean.”
Despite the terrifying incident, young Tanner decided to go back into the ocean and finish the surfing competition. After a 45-minute delay, and with no sharks spotted in the area, the competition resumed. Undaunted, Tanner won the Under 11 division of the Gnarly Charley Surf Contest.
“If you stay calm around sharks they won’t attack. Keep your feet and hands out of the water,” Tanner explained. “I didn’t want to get knocked out 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.”