Surfer launched into air in shark attack – 25 September 2017 — North Point, Gracetown, West Australia

Catherine Visser
Catherine Visser

Catherine Vissers, 28, escaped injury when a Great White shark struck her surfboard from underneath launching her into the air.

The 3.5 metre shark left bite marks in her board.

The incident happened just before 6pm at the North Point surf spot, near Gracetown, southwest Australia on Monday 25 September 2017.

Surfer Tom Van Beem was the only other person in the water at the time. He’s quoted in the press as saying:

Tom Van Beem
Tom Van Beem

“I felt the water move underneath me and then all of a sudden the girl next to me was knocked off her board by this huge shark.

“She’s just sort of got knocked up and over and there was a big splash and then I saw the shark’s body follow with the pectoral fin and the tail.

“The shark came out of the water and landed in between us.

“I was only a few meters away.

“I’m a lifeguard, and I have some training for shark situations, so the first thing I did was ask if she was OK; I knew that if the shark had hit one of her major arteries, she would have only had a minute or so before she’d pass out from blood loss.

“Once she said she was OK, we paddled 50 meters straight to the rocks, floated over the barnacles, and scurried up as fast as possible.

“I just put my head down and paddled as fast as I could.

“I had this sinking feeling that it was going to hit me, but we’re very lucky that no one was injured and everyone’s fine, just a few minor dings on her board.

“It must have had its mouth open because there was three pretty big teeth marks in her board.

“She was pretty rattled, tearing up, just kind of in shock I guess. I think we all were.

“If it wanted to, it could’ve taken a big limb or something like that.

Catherine's surfboard with shark bite marks
Catherine’s surfboard with shark bite marks

Catherine, from Belgium, told Dutch newspaper Nieuwsblad: “Ik heb er niets van gezien. Ik dacht dat het een stomme dolfijn was. (I didn’t see anything. I thought it was a dumb dolphin.)

Her father was quoted as saying when he asked her if she would go back in the water she said: “Oh Dad, I’ve been attacked. The chance that a shark will hit me again, is minimal.”

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Youtube: Tom Van Beem decribes of the shark attack

 

 

Sources:

Shark flings surfer into the air – 10 September 2017 – Iluka, New South Wales, Australia

Abe McGrath shows the shark bite mark in his surfboard that was snapped with the impact of the attack.
Abe McGrath shows the shark bite mark in his surfboard that was snapped with the impact of the attack.

Abe McGrath, 35, was surfing with friends early on Sunday morning, 10 September 2017, at Main Beach, Iluka, New South Wales, Australia when he was attacked by a 3.5 metre Great White shark.

The incident happened around 6am. McGrath was lying on his board about 300m north of the Illuka Wall.

The shark attacked from underneath and flung McGrath into the air. His board was snapped in half with the impact. McGrath landed back in the water and was fortunate to come away with a torn wetsuit and relatively minor lacerations to his right hip.

“He was laying on his board and he got attacked from below really aggressively, the force of the attack snapped his board,”  McGrath’s friend Bryce Cameron, who was on the beach and about to head into the water when the attack occurred, said.

“The impact lifted him up. The shark was coming from the deep and hit (Abe’s board) with its nose and opened its mouth and latched on the board.

Cameron said shark got most of the board in its mouth.

“He [McGrath] got a good look at it. He said it was a 3.5m white pointer. In the big scheme of things that is a juvenile but it is still big enough to kill.”

Abe McGrath show the minor wound on his hip
Abe McGrath shows his torn wetsuit and the minor wound on his hip – from the the shark attack.

McGrath said the shark circled him after the attack and then swam off.

With the help of his friend Elijah ‘Hobbit’ Colbey, he retrieved one half of his surfboard and paddled to shore. His friends drove him to Ballina Hospital and he was then flown to Lismore Hospital, New South Wales, for further treatment and discharged Sunday night.

Cameron was on the beach during the attack and said if McGrath had been sitting on the board instead of lying on it when the shark struck, he would have lost his leg.

Cameron posted this on Instagram: “Life could of been very different this morning…. so stoked to still have our mate and not witness something far worse. Our arrival to iluka this morning, @abemcgrath hit by a juvenile white pointer. So stoked to see him able to limp up the beach.”

“Abe was left floating in the water with a couple of teeth marks on his body. He scrambled in the water and got washed in by the next wave.”

“He is pretty much the luckiest man on earth right now,” Cameron said.

“He was stoked, he wasn’t in shock yet, he was really happy to be alive and in front of his mates. We were all giving him big hugs and felt pretty lucky to have him there.”

 

Colbey, the only other surfer in the water with McGrath at the time, was quoted as saying:

“We were 50m apart and it was just me and him out there.

“A good wave rolled past, we were both watching it, and then I looked back and saw Abe skimming across the water splashing.

“Then I hear f**k off, f**k off and then my nickname Hobbit being called out.

“I started paddling towards him for help and then my mind clicked to it being the worst possible outcome.”

“I grabbed his two broken bits of surfboard and we looked at each other and counted our blessings that we could actually walk away.

“He was very stoked to be able to walk up the beach with me … we could look back on it and be very stoked but also shaken up and in shock.”

 

Sources:

SCARED – 20 October 2013 — Pila‘a Beach near Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii – surfer attacked

Jeff Horton shows the shark bite mark on his board after the attack at Pila'a, Kauai.
Jeff Horton shows the shark bite mark on his board after the attack at Pila’a, Kauai.

Jeff Horton, 25, was surfing with 10 others at Pila‘a Beach near Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii on Sunday 20 October 2013 when he spotted a dark shape approaching him while he was sitting on his board. He says he thought it was a stingray. He lifted his legs out the water and the shark bit into his board.

“It came flying straight toward me,” he said

He was knocked off his board and fell onto the shark. He grabbed a fin and started punching the shark, which continued to bite onto his board.

“I finally got one nice punch into the eye,” Horton was quoted as saying. “I put some really good hits on it, for sure.”

When he hit it in the eye the shark let go the board and swam away. He was not injured, although his board was left with the typical semi-circular bite mark.

It was not reported what type of shark it was or what size it was.

Sources:
The Garden Island

PIC Source
The Garden Island

BUMPED – 11 August 2013 – The Washout, Folly Beach, South Carolina, USA – surfer’s board bitten

Folly Beach shark attack
Surfer talks to media after his board was bitten by a bull shark during a surf contest.

A 10-year-old surfer (not immediately named in press reports) had his board bitten by what is presumed to be a 6-8 foot bull shark while surfing in a contest at The Washout on Folly Beach in South Carolina. The incident happened around 5.30pm on Sunday 11 August 2013.

A witness on the beach said the shark got tangled in his leash. The shark then latched onto his board. The boy managed to undo his leash and swim away from the board. He was not injured.

Two other surfers swam out an helped the boy to shore.

The contest — the S.C. Governor’s Cup of Surfing – was stopped and postponed to September.

Sources:

Transworld Surf
The State
WISTV

PIC Source:
10-year-old surfer talks to media.
Screen grab from video on WISTV

FATAL – 15 January 2012 – Second Beach, Port St Johns, Eastern Cape, South Africa – surfer attacked

This surfer died after trying to fight off a shark attack at Second Beach, Port St Johns, South Africa

A 25-year-old surfer (name not released) was killed by an unidentified shark while surfing with friends at Second Beach, Port St Johns, Eastern Cape, South Africa. The incident happened about 3pm on Sunday 15 January 2012.

According to a report in the Daily Dispatch the surfer sustained severe injuries to his chest and arms after fighting off the shark  with his surfboard.

According to the report, he fought the shark for at least 5 minutes before being pulled from the water by a surfer and other swimmers. Lifeguards and a doctor at the beach at the time treated his wounds before emergency paramedics arrived. He died on route to hospital.

An eye witness was quoted as saying:

“I saw the fin of the shark and  as I told people to get out of the  water I heard him scream and  within seconds the water had  turned red.”

“He had a surfboard with him and he used it to wrestle off the shark.

“Lifeguards started blowing their whistles, but by that time there was blood everywhere.

“I have never seen so much blood in my life. I am not sure if I will ever be able to swim there again.”

According to the newspaper, the surfer called on others in the water to get out while he tried to fight off the shark with his board.

National Sea Rescue Institute  spokesman said the sea at the time had poor visibility and the water was very warm.

There has been a spate of shark attacks at this beach in the past few years – several of them fatal.

Sources:

Daily Dispatch
IOL

PIC Source
Daily Dispatch