South African surfer describes great white encounter

  • Zoe Steyn from East London, South Africa, encountered a 10ft shark this month
  • Luckily she was sat on her board and escaped the incident unscathed
  • Her father said although she was shaken up, she got back in the sea the next day

A 13-year-old girl has described the terrifying moment a great white shark took her surf board from her with the teeth marks left in the fiberglass as a lasting memento.

Zoe Steyn from East London, South Africa, was waiting to catch a wave when she came face-to-face with the 10 foot long predator.

She said all she saw was a ‘huge black eye’ looking straight at her as she was thrown from her board and into the water.

Zoe Steyn from East London, South Africa, was waiting to catch a wave when she came face-to-face with the 10 foot long predator

Zoe Steyn from East London, South Africa, was waiting to catch a wave when she came face-to-face with the 10 foot long predator

Recalling the chain of chain of events, the school girl told The Telegraph: ‘[I heard] a huge bang as it took my board and began shaking it.

‘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.’

Luckily Zoe’s friend, 40-year-old JP Veaudry was in the water at the time and he was able to offer a helping hand.

He told MailOnline Travel that he didn’t see the shark but he saw all of the thrashing in the water as Zoe paddled towards the shore.

The experienced surfer, who also works as a photographer, added: ‘It all happened very quickly.

‘I heard a death defying scream and saw loads of thrashing about in the water.

The shark left its teeth marks in Zoe's board as a lasting memento 

The shark left its teeth marks in Zoe’s board as a lasting memento 

An eye witness said that he didn't see the shark but saw lots of thrashing in the water as Zoe made a dash towards the shore (stock image)

An eye witness said that he didn’t see the shark but saw lots of thrashing in the water as Zoe made a dash towards the shore (stock image)

‘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 I paddled straight out to get her and she had got back on her board and I paddled back in with her.’

Amazingly Zoe escaped the incident unscathed. 

Mr Veaudry said it was lucky she was sitting on the surf board when the shark attacked as her arms were out of the way. 

The incident took place on July 7 around the Nahoon Reef.

Great white sharks are said to be common in waters off East London. Famously surfer Shannon Ainslie was attacked by two sharks in the area when he was 15 years old but miraculously lived to tell the tale

Great white sharks are said to be common in waters off East London. Famously surfer Shannon Ainslie was attacked by two sharks in the area when he was 15 years old but miraculously lived to tell the tale

Zoe’s father said although she was shaken up by the incident, she got back in the water the next day.

He added via a thread on the surf website zigzag.co: ‘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!’

Mr Veaudry, who lost a leg in a motorbike incident and now surfs as an adaptive champion, says great white sharks are common in waters off East London.   

Famously surfer Shannon Ainslie was attacked by two sharks in the area when he was 15 years old but miraculously lived to tell the tale. 


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