HomeOutdoorsNewsTwo Great White Sharks Once Attacked a Single Surfer Simultaneously: WATCH

Two Great White Sharks Once Attacked a Single Surfer Simultaneously: WATCH

by Jon D. B.
great white sharks attack surfer
Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias, jets to the water surface. (Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Unlucky or lucky? Surfer Shannon Ainslie survived not one, but two great white sharks attacking in tandem. This is his story, and it was all caught on film.

There’s never a time for a non-terrifying shark attack in life. As adults, we’re better equipped to deal with the onslaught both physically and mentally. But surviving two great whites at once as a child?

Ainslie did exactly that while surfing off South Africa’s East London coast, an area well known to shredders, sharks, and survivors. Speaking to LADbible, the lifelong surfer offered shocking details about that harrowing day.

“It was actually our first day back at school after a nice long winter vacation. The winters in South Africa are the prime time to surf, but it’s also the prime time for great white sharks to swim up and down the coast,” Ainslie began.

Citing “a lot” of shark activity in the weeks before that day’s surf, he still recalls being unfazed as a kid. This was – and is – the norm for surfing in South African waters.

‘There were two sharks…’

“We were surfing a place called Nahoon Reef, and I remember about an hour and a half into the surf I started paddling for a wave and while I was paddling I got hit really hard,” he reveals. That hard hit came from the first of two great white sharks.

“One came from my left and hit from underneath and bumped me really hard into the air. Then, it grabbed me and my surfboard and dragged me underwater with it,” Ainslie continues.

“Fortunately, whilst that was happening the shark on my right missed me because the other shark got me first,” he recalls. “I don’t know what would have happened if both sharks had hit me at the same time. They would just have had a tug of war or something… But fortunately that never happened.”

Ainslie’s choice of “fortunately” brings in that age-old debate over luck. Is he remarkably lucky to have survived two great white sharks attacking him simultaneously? Or is he incredibly unlucky to be the victim of this dual attack to begin with?

‘I remember the shark that bit me let go and just stared at me face-to-face underwater’

“I remember the shark that bit me let go and just stared at me face-to-face underwater,” he offers. “It was close, right in front of my face with its mouth wide open.”

Again, lucky? Or unlucky?

“I could see all of its teeth, the top row and bottom row, big white sharp teeth. I just had a staring moment with the shark, it was just staring at me with one big dark eye… We had this moment, it was unreal,” Ainslie recounts.

Despite not being dragged under and consumed, a young Shannon Ainslie had been severely wounded by the jaws of a great white shark. He believes he was spared from death by the second shark hitting his board hard and retreating.

“When I saw to the surface, I was in so much shock that I had no idea what was going on. I never felt the shark bite me,” he says. “I saw all the other surfers paddling frantically towards the shore, completely freaking out – I was so confused.”

This is when reality set in. “As I pulled my right arm over to start paddling, I see my fingers hanging off my hand. There was a bite in my hand and my wrist bone that had broken the bone.”

In this moment, the nightmare shark attack became reality. “It was the most scary moment ever. I was left all by myself like 100 metres offshore,” he told LADbible.

Childhood’s Dual Great White Shark Attack Didn’t Deter Shannon Ainslie from Surfing the Rest of His Life

Amid panic, Ainslie looked frantically to his left and right, awaiting another shark attack. But none came, and he was spared.

“I paddled really hard and prayed really hard, and eventually I managed to catch a wave and get back to the beach in one piece.”

As a firmly land-rooted naturalist, this would be the sort of thing that would forever give me pause when returning to any ocean. Especially after watching the entire event unfold, as it was all captured on camera.

UNILAD’s full feature on Shannon Ainslie is unreal, and you can watch it below:

To this day, “I’ve never had any fearful, uncomfortable experiences,” Ainslie says. “I haven’t got this fear of sharks in my hardware, I feel super comfortable when I surf the water.”

Now, he contends with the orcas of freezing waters off Norway’s coast, instead. And if there’s anything more terrifying than great white sharks in the oceans of Earth, it’s their natural predator: the killer whale.

For more incredible shark attack stories, see our Top 10 Most Brutal Shark Attacks Over the Past Century next.