Survival Animal Attacks

Watch: Lone Surfer Punches Great White Shark to Thwart Attack

"I just figured I'm not going to roll over for it, so I moved onto its back and started punching"
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video surfer punches shark
The shark attack took place near Margaret River in Western Australia. Sharkdiver Martin / Adobe stock

A 24-year-old Australian surfer had to put his dukes up recently when a great white shark attacked him roughly 100 yards from shore. Jack Frost, who was surfing alone that day, thwarted the attack by punching the shark in the head and gills. A surfcam on the beach captured faraway footage of the incident, which took place at a well-known surf break in Western Australia known as “Boat Ramps” on July 24.

On Aug. 1, Frost spoke with Swellnet, which operates the Boat Ramps surfcam near Margaret River. (The online service maintains a number of these cameras at various places along the coast to give surfers a real-time view of current conditions.) He explained that he was sitting on his surfboard waiting for a wave when something surged up from below and “smacked” him, biting down on his board and leg.

The collision knocked Frost into the water, and one of the shark’s pectoral fins hit him in the groin as it gripped his fiberglass board in its jaws. That’s when he decided to fight back.

“I just figured I’m not going to roll over for it, so I moved onto its back and started punching its head a few times. That doesn’t really do much; it didn’t even flinch,” Frost explained. “But then I started punching it in the side towards the gills, and I must have got one punch in where it’s touch sensitive [because] it just f*cking shot down into the depths.”

With his leg gashed and his board wrecked, Frost paddled as fast he could toward the beach without stopping to look at his wounds. Luckily, the shark never returned.

“I knew that if I got really tired my heart was going to run quicker, and if I did have a good cut then I was probably going to lose a lot of blood,” Frost said. “So, I was just trying to keep myself pretty calm but also head down, arse up on the way in.”

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Looking back on it, he said the paddle back to shore was mostly a blur. When he finally got there, he was helped by an off-duty nurse and several other people who he called “absolute legends.” The nurse took the leash off his board and made a basic tourniquet to stop the bleeding. And when he told them he couldn’t afford an ambulance ride, they drove him to the hospital themselves.  

Frost received stitches in his thigh and is expected to fully recover from his injuries. He told Swellnet he plans to continue surfing, although he won’t be paddling out solo anytime soon.