Palm Bay boy, 11, has close encounter with shark during surfing competition

Tanner Brasol’s encounter during GROM Surfing Series competition captured on video

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – It was a scary moment for Kelly Brasol as she saw a shark get too close for comfort to her son, Tanner on Saturday morning.

“My heart stopped,” the mother of three said. In a video shot by another parent, the images show part of that heart-stopping moment when her 11-year-old son, Tanner started to paddle toward the shoreline.

“He got the part where everything was finally a little bit of a relief,” she said. “That’s where the video that you see picks up where Tanner had just gotten out of the bait pod. What was still terrifying though is you could still see in the video one of the sharks was very interested in him and continued to follow him.”

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Brasol said prior to that moment, Tanner had been encountered by another shark in Satellite Beach where he was at a Gnarly Charley’s GROM Surfing Series competition.

“It was like a scene from a movie, almost like two submarines coming up and you see the dorsal fins and then the next thing you know it’s like (splashing noise) all over right behind Tanner; you just see the thrashing and the dorsal fins and the tails and the fish scattering and Tanner is just sitting there in the middle of it and you just see him freeze.”

The young boy who began surfing in May of 2020, recalled it was his first experience coming so close to a shark.

“I was very scared. I was just like this is not good,” Tanner said. “That shark he’s not happy that I was in his bait. He thought I was competition for that bait.”

As soon as the event organizers realized what was happening, they ran to get other young surfers out of the water.

“Immediately, my staff responded, pulled all the kids out of the water, put the red flag up, and stopped the contest for 45 minutes,” said Charley Hejeck, the organizer of the competition. “Tanner Brasol was very calm. He acted like a professional and I was so proud of him. He knows the sharks. He pulled his feet and hands out of the water and raced to the beach.”

Once the bait pod had cleared up and there were no sharks in sight, the contest resumed. Tanner said he initially thought about not going back into the water but then decided he could give it one more try.

“If you stay calm around sharks they won’t attack. Keep your feet and hands out of the water,” he said. “I didn’t want to get knocked out and I knew I was not gonna get bit. It’s just not that common to get bit. The sharks they’re not after you; they’re more scared of humans.”

The Brasol family said they hope viewers will learn from their experience and know the importance of removing themselves from the water if they see a bait pod nearby.

About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.