This is the terrifying moment that two paddleboarders were circled by a hammerhead shark off the coast of Florida.
Malea Tribble, of Fort Lauderdale, and her paddle boarding partner Gabe Barajas were caught in a scary situation as they were completing the Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis event, where participants travel 80 miles from the Bahamas to Florida on a paddleboard to raise money.
As Tribble and Barajas were paddling in the ocean with no land in sight, Tribble felt a few bumps on the bottom of her board but was unaware a curious hammerhead shark was swimming right underneath her as she was in the middle of the Gulf.
Her husband Ricky – who was on the support boat – spotted the animal’s tall dorsal fin as it rose up behind Tribble’s board, and he directed his wife to paddle toward him.
‘Malea, come to the side,’ Ricky can be heard saying in a video, posted to the Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis’s Instagram page. ‘Keep coming.’
Someone else on the boat informs the paddleboarder that the shark ‘keeps following you.’
Malea Tribble, of Fort Lauderdale, and her paddle boarding partner Gabe Barajas were caught in a scary situation as they were completing the Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis event, where participants travel 80 miles from the Bahamas to Florida on a paddleboard to raise money
A hammerhead shark showed its fin on Tribble’s board as it followed her around the ocean
‘Is it a big one?’ she asks.
‘It’s hard to tell,’ someone replied.
Tribble pulls her board close to the boat and sits down as they call over to Barajas to stay seated on his board a few feet out.
‘Hammerhead shark right here,’ Ricky tells Barajas as his wife makes a fake fin on her head to indicate what was going on.
Afterward, the pair kept close to the boat as they continued their journey back to Florida.
Reflecting on the moment, Tribble said she never ‘felt unsafe.’
‘We felt calm. I didn’t have time to allow myself to be scared,’ she told event organizers. ‘Even an encounter as unique as mine, would not deter me from competing in The Crossing again. Our “why” for this event is the foundation itself.’
Neither was hurt and Tribble said ‘no one felt unsafe’ during the incident
The pair stayed close to the boat after the shark sighting
The founder of the Crossing event, Travis Suit, said he was ‘grateful Malea was not harmed and so proud of the calm and disciplined response the Tribble’s had during the situation’
The crossing event starts at midnight and helps raise money for the Piper’s Angels Foundation to help patients and families with cystic fibrosis.
Each paddler has to raise a minimum of $2,000. Barajas revealed on his Instagram that he and Tribble raised $10,000.
Tribble has participated in the event three times, including twice as a paddler.
There’s only been 16 recorded incidents between humans and hammerhead sharks since 1990, according to Shark Attack File, and no deaths have been recorded.
Tribble has participated in the 80-mile journey three times, including twice as a paddler
There’s only been around 1,200 shark attacks worldwide in the last 50 years, with a 14 percent fatality rate, according to Floridapanhandle.com.
Sharks oftentimes attack unprovoked in the afternoon and July 2022 saw the highest record of attacks with 17. Many of the fatal attacks happened in Florida, Hawaii, California, and South Carolina in the US. The US has the most attacks, ringing in over 700 of the 1,200.
Australia comes in second with a little over 250 attacks in the last 50 years, according to Floridapanhandle.com.
Out of the 1,200 attacks, great white sharks amounted for just 180 of them.