Doug Niblack has spent this week sharing a fantastic story about his accidental surfing episode atop the back of a great white shark. He was paddling his surfboard Monday off Oregon when a large shark struck his board from below, knocking him onto the predator. He stood and rode the shark for several seconds, he said, before falling as the shark began to dive. Although another surfer witnessed the incident, because there were no photos or video to back up the incredible tale, there have been skeptics. But on Friday an animation services company depicted what the surfer and witness said happened (see below).
Niblack, who estimated the shark to measure 10-12 feet, told KATU News he was most frightened when he was back in the water, “When I didn’t know where it was anymore.” He retrieved his board immediately and paddled ashore at what must have seemed light speed.
One of the witnesses was Jake Marks, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard, who was surfing nearby. He didn’t actually see the shark but did see Niblack suddenly standing up amid churning water. He then joined Niblack in paddling toward shore, after noticing a large shape between them, immediately beneath the surface.
“I have no reason to doubt there was a shark out there,” Marks told USA Today. “With the damage to his board, the way he was yelling and trembling afterwards — there is no other explanation for that.”
The incident occurred at “the Cove” off Seaside.
White sharks do occasionally show off Oregon, and in fact surfers have had altercations at Seaside. White sharks are ambush predators who strike from below. It could be that this particular shark mistook Niblack for a seal and realized its mistake before taking a savage bite. If this happened the way it’s portrayed in the video, it was an amazing experience and the surfer is fortunate not to have been killed or seriously injured.
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