Shark Knocks 7-Year-Old Florida Boy Off His Surfboard in Shocking GoPro Footage
Shaun Moore said this was the first time that he and his son Chandler have encountered a shark, despite the beach being known as the "shark attack capital of the world"
Nothing can keep Chandler Moore out of the water, not even a run-in with a shark — just ask his dad, Shaun Moore!
Over the weekend, Shaun, 40, and his son Chandler were enjoying the warm weather and some big waves at New Smyrna Beach in Florida when the 7-year-old was suddenly knocked off his surfboard by what they initially believed was a fish.
However, Shaun and Chandler were in for quite the surprise when they discovered that the innocent aquatic creature actually turned out to be a blacktip shark — and the shocking moment was captured on Shaun’s GoPro camera.
The footage shows Chandler confidently standing up on his board and gaining his balance above the water, before seeing him jumping off the back of his board in terror after something quickly approaches him from the lower left corner of the shot.
“As a parent, I, of course, felt a little bit of anxiety, like, ‘Oh my gosh, what could’ve happened?” the Florida resident tells PEOPLE exclusively after Saturday’s incident. “But thankfully, we don’t have to worry about that.”
Shaun, who is a former professional wakeboarder, said he had been out in the water with his son for about 15 minutes when the shark sighting happened.
“Chandler caught a wave — I typically push him into the wave and then I stand in the water [while] he paddles back to me — so I noticed on that wave that he fell off the side of the board kinda awkwardly,” Shaun recalls. “And I said, ‘Hey what happened?'”
“He’s like, ‘I saw some fish and something bumped me and knocked me off the board,'” the father of two says of Chandler’s response. “But we kept surfing. We didn’t think anything of it, and we stayed out for another 15 minutes or so.”
Conveniently, Shaun said he had mounted his GoPro camera to the surfboard, as he and Chandler often do “for fun” to document many of their father-son adventures that later turned into “little videos that we make for the family.”
So it was no surprise that when the duo returned to the beach, Shaun downloaded the GoPro footage to his phone and then uploaded it to his Instagram Stories, all of which he says was difficult to clearly see due to the glare on the beach.
It wasn’t until some of Shaun’s followers pointed out the mysterious surfboard bump that Shaun realized what had just happened.
“A couple of people thought they saw something kinda funny in the video, so we slowed the video down and paused it and were like, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s a shark!” he says. “At that point, we were already done surfing for the night and were like, ‘Oh my gosh, we dodged a bullet there.'”
“We felt really lucky that Chandler didn’t end up having to get stitches or anything like that,” Shaun adds. “It was a first for both of us.”
Chandler echoed his father’s thoughts, telling PEOPLE that, “I was thinking that it was just a fish that hit me. … I was so surprised [that it was a shark.]”
Asked whether he was scared following the shark encounter, the 7-year-old says matter-of-factly, “No, because it already happened, and we weren’t going in the water again.”
Shaun said the beach where he and Chandler were surfing is often referred to as the “Shark Attack Capital of the World.” National Geographic has also reported this, estimating that roughly 1 out of 25 shark attacks worldwide occur at New Smyrna Beach.
“We already kinda knew the dangers that existed,” Shaun explains. “Statistically, it’s pretty bad but there were hundreds of people in the water that day. I don’t think anyone else had this kind of encounter. Of course, you always want to stay safe. We always heed the warnings of Volusia County lifeguards and Beach Patrol.”
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Even with the beach’s high shark activity, Shaun says he and Chandler have never been deterred from going in the water. And now, with one shark encounter under their belt, it doesn’t appear that their outlook will change.
“I think he’s got some of my genes,” admits Shaun, who grew up surfing. “I have a little bit of that daredevil blood in me and I think he gets that from me also. He’s always dragging me on roller coasters. He’s our little extreme sports addict.”
“He’s not scared, it’s not gonna keep him from surfing. He wants to get back out there,” he adds.
As for what Chandler would tell anyone who might be nervous after experiencing a similar shark encounter?
“I would just say look out and be careful,” he says. “And good luck!”
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