NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - When conditions are good, no surfer wants to get out of the water. However, when you look down and something has taken a bite out of your hand, that’s a little different.
18-year-old Reed Zipperer and his buddies were about to catch a wave at New Smyrna Beach when things went from care-free to scary.
“Right when it hit, I knew it was a shark. I started gushing blood, I was like awe, sick.” Zipperer said.
Folks on the beach watched Reed come out of the water and they could see his hand. There were audible gasps and shrieks.
“Well, nothing to see here.” Zipperer joked.
Reed went to a lifeguard tower, where guards wrapped his hand in gauze. A friend started recording with his cell phone.
“How do you feel?” someone asked.
“I feel like a million bucks,” Zipperer is heard saying in the clip.
“I was chilling, but I was losing a lot of blood, so I got nauseous and I had to sit down.” Zipper said.
At the hospital, Reed got 19 stitches. He thinks it was a black tip shark.
“We’re surfing where the sharks live, so there’s always that chance you’re going to get bit.” Zipperer said.
Officials have investigated 130 incidents of alleged human-shark interaction worldwide in 2018. Florida is the number one spot with 16 unprovoked bites.
Reed survived his encounter. Officials say the odds of being killed by a shark are one in three million.
“My stitches come out in 10 days, then we’ll see what the doctor says, but I for sure want to get in the water again.” Zipper said.
Doctors told him if the bite had been any deeper there could have been permanent damage to the hand.