Zoe Steyn, a teenager, was surfing Nahoon Reef, East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa, on Friday afternoon, 7 July 2017, when a 2.5m-3m Great White shark bit into her board and pulled it from under her. She was not injured.
According to a report in the Daily Dispatch, adaptive surfing champ JP Veaudry, who was in the water at the time ‘swam towards the screaming teen after the shark pulled the board out from beneath her’. He paddled with her to the surfer’s walkway across the reef and helped her ashore.
“My first thought was to get out of there, but I couldn’t just leave her. She said she didn’t know if she’d been bitten. I paddled with her to the slipway and when we got out she said it hadn’t bitten her. But I saw it bit her board in exactly the place where her arm could have been.”
Tristan Wantenaar, 33, who was bodyboarding a few metres in front of Zoe at the time of the attack said he heard her scream and turned around to see the large dorsal fin of the shark thrashing.
“It grabbed her board and thrashed it from side to side. She was trying to get back on her board to get out of the water.”
Zoe was uninjured in the incident.
The shark attack sparked a debate on the Zigzag surf mag forum about whether it was an encounter or an attack.
Zoë is my daughter. She is as passionate about the environment as she is about surfing. The declining shark population is of great concern to her! She will be back in the water tomorrow for our local trials. We are very grateful that her encounter/ attack (call it what you will), left her unscathed. Also, all you guys who rushed to her aid and paddled back to shore with her are just awesome! That’s the spirit we try and instill in our children, and testimony to the camaraderie in the surfing community!! We are truly grateful!!!
An unidentified surfer suffered a minor bite on his foot while surfing at Ponce Inlet, Volusia County, Florida on Saturday 10 June 2017. He “got off his surfboard and stepped on the sand bar just north of the jetty when a shark nipped him on the left foot just before 10am,” said Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue Senior Capt. Tamra Marris.
“He had a laceration,” Marris said. “It didn’t appear to be significant.”
He was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Marris said the migration of mullet and other baitfish make for plentiful feeding grounds for common blacktip and spinner sharks, which grow to 6- to 8-feet long.
This was the 6th shark attack in Volusia County this year.
The Daytona Beach News Journal recounts them: Among the six shark bites this year was 58-year-old man, who was bitten on the foot while surfing in New Smyrna Beach in March. April saw four shark bites, including a 16-year-old swimmer in Daytona Beach, a Georgia woman bitten on the thigh in New Smyrna Beach, a 35-year-old woman bitten on the leg in Ormond Beach, and an unidentified person who suffered a minor bite on the foot in Daytona Beach Shores.
Rich Thompson, 30, suffered some minor lacerations to his thumb and hand when he punched a small shark that had latched onto his leg while he was surfing off the coast of Bantham in South Devon, England on 6 June 2017.
Although his injuries are minor the incident caused a lot of hype in the British media because it is believed to be the first shark attack in British waters.
Thomson said the shark was about 3 feet long. Shark experts said it was probably a smooth hound shark.
“I turned round and saw this little shark was on my thigh and wriggling its head side to side.
“I hit it on the head and it swam off. My hand was cut to pieces.”
He said he thought his thick winter wetsuit protected him from being injured more seriously when the shark bit on his leg.
“I went home and told my wife I was late because I had been bitten by a shark.
“She said ‘I’ve heard that one before’, but it was true.
“It won’t stop me going back in the water and it shouldn’t stop anyone, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I have never caught any fish while fishing but the biggest one I’ve ever caught attached itself to my leg.”
A 14-year-old boy (name withheld in local media because of his age) sustained minor lacerations to his right calf after he was bitten by a shark while he was surfing with two others at The Waves surf spot on Keurbooms beach, Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. The incident took place around 5pm on Saturday 29 April 2017.
Shark researchers suspect that it was a 2-metre great white shark, going by the size of the bite marks.
He was treated by NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute) medics and by paramedics on the scene for lacerations to his right calf before being transported to hospital by ambulance in a stable condition.
According to media reports, the teenager was surfing with two other surfers. At the take-off zone he turned to catch a wave when he saw a fin approaching him; he felt a bump and he felt a bite on his right calf.
He caught a wave to the beach where he was met by his father, who had witnessed the incident, and bystanders who aided and called paramedics.
There had been several sightings of sharks in the bay the day before, prompting the NSRI to issue a warning to surfers and swimmers.
“The increase in shark inshore presence at this time of the year is part of the normal aggregation of these animals. Sharks are aggregating in this area at this time, as they have done in previous years, to take advantage of naturally occurring prey like seals and fish close inshore,” the NSRI said in a statement.