Pro surfer bitten by shark bypasses hospital for local bar
A shark attack ended not in tragedy for a pro surfer in Florida Saturday, but with free drinks at the local bar.
Frank O’Rourke was surfing at Jacksonville Beach Saturday afternoon when he encountered a shark that latched on to his right elbow and knocked him off his board.
Video shows O’Rourke struggling in the water before rushing across the beach with his board in tow.
‘Did that just happen?’
O’Rourke’s friend RJ Berger described the scene to News 4 in Jacksonville.
"It was kind of panic, like, 'Did that just happen?'" Berger said. "It kind of took him a couple seconds to, like, gather himself and realize, like, 'Wow, I just got bit by a shark,' and then we all went into the beach."
Notice that Berger said they went “into the beach” — not into the hospital.
Free drinks? Absolutely
O’Rourke suffered minor wounds in the attack and opted instead of seeking professional medical treatment to take advantage of his new-found star status at a beachside bar after receiving a bit of first aid from a lifeguard.
"He immediately went to a bar 'cause he was like, 'I got bit by a shark,' and people were like, 'I'll buy you drinks.' So he went and hung out at the pier," Berger said.
That all adds up.
O’Rourke showed off his minor injuries to ABC and recounted the incident.
“All of the sudden, a shark comes out of the water and grabs on to my arm. You have all the rows of teeth just clamped down on my arm.”
Berger speculated with News 4 that the shark that bit his friend was a three-to-four foot spinner shark or blacktip.
O’Rourke on shark panic: ‘Get out there and have fun’
Incidents like this and another weekend shark attack of a body boarder in Florida that also resulted in superficial wounds tend to spark panic, especially among media hungry for compelling storylines in the middle of summer.
O’Rourke had a message for people who might be scared facing the overwhelmingly long odds of being attacked by a shark.
“If you’re going out to surf, just know that there can be some harm out there,” O’Rourke said. “You can’t be scared. Get out there and have fun.”
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