Community Corner: Stinson Beach Shark Victim Turns Shark Advocate

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(photo credit: aquariumofthebay.org)

(photo credit: aquariumofthebay.org)

KCBS Community Corner
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – As the Discovery Channel begins its 25th annual Shark Week celebration on Sunday, and San Francisco’s Aquarium of the Bay kicks off its own festivities this weekend, one man is recalling his own experience with a great white shark.

Jonathan Kathrein narrowly escaped a shark attack while surfing at Stinson Beach in 1998. He describes the attack as being hit by a “freight train with a mouthful of razorblades” in his new book “Surviving the Shark.”

He not only shares his story but has also dedicated his life to advocating for sharks and ocean conservation.

KCBS’ Connie C. Kim talks to Jonathan Kathrein:

The attack happened on August 26, 1998 but Kathrein says “it’s an experience that I think about on a nearly daily basis.”

However, he does not hold a grudge against sharks.

“We do so much more damage to the ocean than sharks do to us,” Kathrein commented, “and it’s also a story of triumph – triumph over challenges in our lives and whether it’s a shark attack or finding yourself in any sort of challenging situation, I think the story really resonates with everybody.”

Immediately following the attack, he felt the media was focused on describing sharks as a vicious, frightening creature, so he made an effort to portray the shark as a “peaceful, yet powerful animal.”

Kathrein believes the general perception has changed over the past 14 years with more resources available for people to learn about sharks.

“The gory shows have started to change into how fascinating and really wonderful and amazing sharks are and the things that they can do and the way that they live,” Kathrein said, “It’s something we’re just starting to really get a sense of and really just starting to learn about.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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