Teen goes surfing to relieve stress after SATs, gets bitten by shark

Teen goes surfing to relieve stress after SATs, gets bitten by shark

By Meaghan McRoberts

FORT PIERCE, FL (WFLX) - A teenage surfer from Boca Raton is recovering in the hospital after being bitten by a shark Saturday afternoon.

Ryan Shapiro, 18, said he was in just waist-deep water near the Fort Pierce Inlet when a shark bit his arm and tore seven of his tendons.

Shapiro said he has had one surgery and should be released from the hospital on Monday.

On Sunday night, he watched surfing on television from his hospital bed. "It takes my mind off the pain, for sure," Shapiro said.

Shapiro said he had just taken his S.A.T. Saturday before going out with friends and his sister to surf. "I was just trying to go surf for the afternoon to get my stress and everything down," Shapiro explained.

He was paddling toward a wave near the jetty, and reached his arm into the water. "I just felt this shark hit me so hard in the arm. It was just so scary and so real," Shapiro said.

Shapiro is not sure exactly what kind of shark bit him, but believes it was a three- or four-foot spinner shark.

He says the shark latched onto his arm, landed on his back and ripped his wetsuit. "I was just screaming, and everyone kind of got the idea that I got bit," Shapiro said.

Shapiro said the water was shallow enough that he could run toward the shore to get away from the shark. He also says several other surfers he didn't know helped him out of the water and tried to help him stop the bleeding. "There were so many people helping me on the beach and everything. I was just so fortunate," Shapiro said.

Before the bite, Shapiro says, he did see other fish jumping that might have attracted the shark to his area. He says in the future, he will react more quickly to that sight and turn around or be more watchful for sharks.

He hopes others will do the same in that scenario. "I would have never thought this would ever happen to me," Shapiro said.

Shapiro will have to stick to watching surfing on television for several months until he regains full function in his arm. He says he has no worries, however, about getting back on his board. "I'm going to be back there for sure," he said.

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