Local surfer becomes South Carolina’s first shark bite victim of 2017

By Lorne Chambers | Editor

Local surfer and entrepreneur Holly Dyar is the owner of Veg Out, a food preparation and delivery service on James Island that creates meatless meal options for busy people. Dyar, 33, describes herself as “mostly vegetarian,” but does eat seafood every once in a while. She said she became a pescaterian at the age of 14 and hasn’t looked back. So it was a little ironic that someone, who only occasionally sinks her teeth into fish, had a fish sink its teeth into her a couple weeks ago.

Lucky for her the shark apparently didn’t like the way she tasted and let her go but not before clamping down hard on her left foot while she was surfing at the Washout on Folly Beach.

Dyar has the dubious distinction of being the state’s first in 2017. According to her, it’s believed that it was probably a black tip or a bull shark that bit her foot, leaving several deep lacerations with a bite diameter of about 5 inches.

Around 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 29 Dyar was on her longboard waiting to catch a wave when she said she saw the shark, probably about 4-5 feet long, come up from underneath her. “I was looking down at the water right near my foot when I saw the eye come up from under my board. I didn’t have time to react and it bit me. It released and I paddled to shore,” said Dyar, who has been surfing for 20 years. “I hadn’t noticed any fish jumping or fin spotting prior to the bite. The water was clear and green that day and the sun was shining.”

Dyar described the attack as the best, worst case scenario as she was able to escape with minor injuries, which sidelined her from her business for a little while and put a damper on her summer surfing plans … at least for now.

“I am healed physically and emotionally it will take time,” said Dyar. “I will be back in the water very soon! I’ll be wearing my donated Sharkbandz to keep my chances down. Ha!” Sharkbanz are magnetic shark deterrent bands for surfers, divers, swimmers, and beach-goers designed to repel sharks and shield you against shark attacks.

There are almost 40 species of sharks indigenous to South Carolina. Yet, shark attacks are still relatively rare. Last year there were only two reported shark attacks in the entire state. Since 1837, there have only been 82 shark attacks and two fatalities in South Carolina waters.

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