Zoe Steyn, a 13-year-old surfer, was sitting on her board waiting to catch a wave when a great white shark came up from below, chomped into her surfboard and knocked her into the water.
The terrifying incident occurred earlier this month at Nahoon Reef off East London in South Africa, but she just shared her story with The Telegraph.
“I just saw this huge black eye looking straight at me and a huge bang as it took my board and began shaking it,” she told The Telegraph. “It latched on with its jaws just missing my leg and it tipped me backwards and I fell in, and I just saw the black shape of it in the water and panicked.
“I heard another surfer screaming at me to get back on my board and I pulled myself onto it but was terrified of where the shark was and what to do.”
JP Veaudry, who is No. 2 in the world in adaptive surfing, paddled out to her and instructed her to start paddling for shore and not think about the shark.
“He kept asking me if I had been bitten by the shark, but I said I didn’t know as I was in a state of shock and adrenalin was just pumping through my body,” she told The Telegraph.
“I have never been so relieved to get on a beach in my life and JP told me I was very lucky. They reckon it was at least 10-feet long, maybe bigger.
“It was the first time I have ever seen a shark in three years of surfing and my memory of it is this big black eye looking straight at me – I was so, so scared.”
Veaudry, 40, who lost his leg in a hit-and-run accident years ago, told the Daily Mail that he didn’t see the shark and said everything happened very quickly.
“I heard a death-defying scream and saw loads of thrashing about in the water,” Veaudry told The Telegraph. “Zoe was screaming and flailing in the sea as the shark had pulled the board out from under her. My first thought was to get out of there and onto the beach. But I couldn’t just leave her out there with the shark.”
So he paddled out to her and escorted her into shore where it was determined she had not been injured.
Steyn said he saved her by coming out and helping.
“The shark had bitten in the exact place her arm would have been if she had been paddling,” Veaudry told The Telegraph. “You can see the teeth marks on the board so you can imagine what it would have done if it got Zoe…I am just glad she is OK to surf another day.”
Which she did the next day, only not at Nahoon Reef.
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