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 unnamed surfer suffered a minor wound from a shark bite on the back of his left leg below the knee. He was surfing about 20-30 metres offshore of Singer Island, Riviera Beach, Florida, US on Monday 19 June 2017 when the incident happened.
He paddled ashore and was treated by paramedics on the beach.
The surfer told Jarrod Hedrick who was on the beach at the time, that he saw bait fish in front of him as he was surfing. Then he saw a dark shadow followed by pain in his leg. He suffered a 3-5 cm laceration on the back of his left calf.
The species and size of shark was not mentioned. No other details were reported.
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.”
Mathieu Schiller, 32, was dragged off his surfboard while surfing off Boucan Canot beach on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion. The attack by a tiger shark reportedly lasted less than 30 seconds. His body was not recovered.
The incident happened on Monday 19 September 2011.
Schiller, a European team body boarding champion in 1995, was surfing with a group of surfers when the attack happened.
There were around 20 people in shallow water and about five surfers out deeper when it happened.
We saw the shark’s nose emerge and then the man just vanished. It was very sudden, then the animal just swam off.
According to other witness accounts the shark circled Schiller before moving in “with terrifying speed”.
I was waiting for a wave with my feet in the water. We saw the shark and the next thing I knew was that he screamed and raised his arm.
We then saw a cloud of red blood in the water where he had been.
Reports differ about what happened next. Some say the surfers then managed to get Schiller, who was suffering from a gaping wound in his leg, back onto his board. One report says that the shark, which had become frenzied because of blood in the water, returned and hit the surfboard, knocking the victim back into the water. Another report says that a wave hit the board and Schiller fell off and disappeared beneath the surface.
Rescuers in a dinghy searching later for the body reported that a 4 metre bull shark had struck the dinghy trying to overturn it.