Stats vs shark bites

As a surfer one of my biggest fears is being bitten by a shark. Recently a new friend of my brother’s got bitten by a great white at Jeffrey’s Bay, the best wave in South Africa.
I’ve had two discussions with friends this week, with both arguing that the sea is now safer post-attack, as another would be unlikely soon.
I had to invoke the big guns and talk about the flipping a coin analogy from “Thinking fast and slow” by Daniel Kahneman (Even after 20 heads in a row, the next flip is still a 50/50 chance, not more likely to be tails.)
I don’t use this anecdote to showcase my smarts, but rather to illustrate the nuanced challenges that come with understanding and applying basic statistical principles.
Basic stats might save you from a shark bite 🙂
(Image from Mick Fanning getting attacked during a surf contest at J Bay)