By Claire Metz
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Florida (WESH) — A 22-year-old surfer from Oviedo is the fourth shark bite victim of the year in Volusia County. The area typically sees more shark bites than any other place in the country.
The most recent victim bitten near the inlet in New Smyrna Beach Monday was well aware of the area’s reputation.
“First thing I thought is, ‘God, I hope my toes are still there,’ so I looked back and saw my toes were still there,” Brandon Boncore said.
Boncore is recovering at home in Oviedo. Thankfully he has his toes, but he also has stitches and is on crutches for at least six weeks after a shark bit his left foot just under the ankle while surfing the inlet. Boncore was riding in his last wave of the morning Monday and fell off the board.
“I just felt this crazy amount of force on my foot that didn’t seem to want to let go, and I just kind of kicked it off, jumped on my board and paddled right in. I definitely spooked it a little bit. I probably landed on top of it,” he said.
Boncore didn’t see the shark that bit him, but while surfing earlier that morning, he saw a few shadows under him. With all its bait fish, the inlet is a buffet for sharks and sometimes hands and feet get in the way.
“You kind of don’t want to think it’s going to be you, but obviously, it was me. The shark bit right under my ankle, and it missed my tendons and arteries by probably like 2 millimeters,” he said.
He is grateful his recovery won’t be worse. He’s not only an avid surfer, he’s also on his college golf team, so he’s out of the swing of everything for a while. But he won’t stay out of the water; surfing is a passion, and sharks are just part of the package.
“I kind of have to accept that reality and move on. I’ll definitely be back out there,” he said. There were seven shark bites in Volusia County last year and 16 in 2021. The most shark bites recorded in a year was 22 back in 2001.
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