Shark attack capital of the world, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., to host pro surfing contest
Pro surfing will grab the spotlight during the first week in April on two coasts, in areas that have become notorious for drug-related murders and shark attacks.
It is hoped the contest, during the peak of spring break, will place a positive spin on a beleaguered tourist destination caught up in the hysteria generated by drug cartel factions warring among themselves in the vicinity.
This week, the Surfari Pro Contest Committee in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., announced the LandShark Spring Surfari Pro, April 1-5, at New Smyrna Inlet.
New Smyrna Beach is in Volusia County, which documented a record 24 shark attacks in 2008; he beach has been dubbed as the shark-bite capital of the world.
It will be the first organized surf contest there since 1989. In 1988, a high-school student from Cocoa Beach, Kelly Slater, won the Gotcha Fall Surfari. Slater, now 37, is gunning for his 10th world title on the ASP's elite World Tour.
Neither of the two April contests are a big deal in the pro surfing universe. But they'll be fun to follow, and here's a not-so-bold prediction: Nobody will be shot or attacked by a shark.
-- Pete Thomas
Photo: Sign at New Smyrna Beach warns of the risks of surfing there. Credit: Daytona Beach News-Journal