Watch a Surfer Artfully Dodge a Hellbent Needlefish off Indonesia

by Owen James Burke

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Mr. Parkinson is a pro surfer. Hard to say how many people would have made it out of this one. Me? I’d have been fish food, or probably grated against the reef first, just trying to drop in. Still from sabri mahmoud‘s YouTube video.

Mitch Parkinson, an Australian professional surfer, was surfing in the Telos Islands, offshore of Malaysia in the Indian Ocean, when over his shoulder something wickedly sharp his way came.

It’s hard to tell how narrowly he avoided death, or a punctured kidney at the very least. Something tells my a trip to a hospital–probably Padang or Singapore–would have taken long enough for him to succumb. Damn good thing he was quick enough to put the breaks on in time. It looks like he was even able to get back on track and tuck into a neat little tube ride afterwards, too.

Sharks, sharks, sharks. The men in gray aren’t the only ones liable to get you out there; other fish are out there too folks. Needlefish (family Belonidae)–or more aptly here, ninja fish–have been responsible for a plethora of fierce wounds the world over. But there have been only two known deaths attributed to them, one involving a 16-year-old Vietnamese diver back in 2007, who was kamikazed while reaching for a sea cucumber. The first, which took place in in 1977–and this is graphic, so be forewarned–was also a young boy of 10 in Kauai, Hawaii, who was pierced through the eye and brain.

In a way, I’m surprised we don’t hear about this happening more often. -OJB

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