Shark! How One Surfer Survived an Attack

When a two-ton predator caught surfer Todd Endris in its jaws, an unlikely group of swimmers came to his rescue.

By Cathy Free from Reader's Digest | July 2008

Endris also signed up to head an advisory committee in Monterey for the International Shark Attack Research Fund, a group of wildlife veterinarians and marine biologists who have teamed up to design an attack-prevention system. (A portable device that uses electrical pulses to repel sharks was developed in 2002 by an Australian company, but it’s not cheap, costing about $650.)

“Our idea is to create a compact, affordable system that will protect me and my friends,” says Endris, “without harming the sharks. They’ve been on earth millions of years — a whole lot longer than we have.”

Six weeks after the attack, Endris stood at a mirror and checked out his scars. One snaked its way across his back and the other up and down his right leg. Even before he got a close look, he knew that he would return to the water. “I had to get on with it,” he says. “I love the ocean too much.”

That day, he climbed into his Toyota Tacoma and drove to Marina State Beach to try out a new surfboard. Though Joe Jansen now avoids the area, a handful of other surfers met Endris there.

The water was murky with algae, but rays of October sun poked through the clouds as Endris paddled his board out to the same spot where the shark had slammed into him. He scanned the surface of the bay until he spotted a huge swell building behind him, curling with white foam. It was an ideal wave, smooth and cylindrical. Jumping to his feet, Endris caught his balance and soared into the glassy tube.

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