A 24-year-old Australian surfer recently had to put his dukes up when a great white shark attacked him about 100 meters from shore. Jack Frost, surfing alone that day, thwarted the attack by hitting the shark in the head and gills. A surf camera on the beach captured remote footage of the incident, which took place at a well-known surf break in Western Australia known as “Boat Ramps” near Margaret River on July 24.
On August 1, Frost spoke to Swellnet, which operates Boat Ramp’s surf cam. (That online service maintains a number of these cameras at various locations 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 rose up from below and “smashed” him, biting down on his board and legs.
The collision knocked Frost into the water, and one of the shark’s pectoral fins hit him in the groin as it grabbed his fiberglass board in its jaws. That’s when he decided to fight back.
“I just figured I wasn’t going to fall for it, so I moved onto its back and started hitting its head a few times. It doesn’t really do much; it didn’t even flinch,” Frost explained. “But then I started hitting it in the side against the gills and I must have hit it where it’s sensitive (because) it just shot down into the deep.”
With his leg lacerated and his board broken, Frost paddled as fast as he could toward the beach without stopping to look at his wounds. Fortunately, the shark never returned.
“I knew if I got really tired, my heart would race, and if I got a good cut, I’d probably lose a lot of blood,” Frost said. “So I just tried to stay pretty calm, but also head down, ass up going in.”
Looking back, 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 he called “absolute legends.” The nurse took the cord off the board and did a basic mouth gag 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 make a full recovery from his injuries. He told Swellnet that he plans to continue surfing, though he won’t be paddling out alone anytime soon.