Officials: Boy pulled under by shark, not injured
FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) -- A quick-minded 11-year-old survived a shark attack Sunday afternoon during a surfing competition on Folly Beach.
During the Eastern Surfing Association amateur competition, public safety officials said a 6-8-foot shark latched onto a surf board and shut down the event.
Instead of an award, one boy is thankful he has his life.
"Up from the podium, we could see something was going on in the water," said event co-director Nancy Hussey.
At the center of the commotion was 11-year-old Tyson Royston.
"It swam up to me and it got tangled in my leash and it was pulling me under," he said.
A crowd -- including two surfers and five lifeguards -- ran to his aid.
"We stopped the competition immediately, I mean no questions asked," said Hussey. "We got everybody out of the water."
What happened next changed the tide for Royston.
"He had the presence of mind to remove his leash from around his leg, which probably saved his life," Hussey said.
"I swam as hard as I could to the shore," Royston said.
A little shaken, Royston walked away without injury. And it didn't take long for the young surfer to jump back into the water.
"She told me if I didn't want to surf in it, I didn't have to," he said. "I said I wanted to."
As for the competition, the Eastern Surfing Association will make up the competition in September. Royston has plans to compete again in the next few weeks.
Officials do not know for certain what type of shark it was, but several people on the beach said it was a bull shark.