Paddler Makes Lucky Escape After Great White Shark Bites Giant Chunk Out His Craft

by Craig Garrett
Great White Shark - stock photo

Off the South Australian coast, a young surf ski paddler was fortunate to avoid injury when a Great White shark took a chunk out of his ski. 19-year-old Nat Drummond’s race ended abruptly when the animal took a bite out of his ski only one kilometer into the event, near Seacliff Surf Lifesaving Club south of Adelaide. The force of the impact threw Drummond into the water.

“My ski just kind of lifted above the water and then next thing I knew I was in the air and then I was in the water,” Drummond told 9News. Drummond was unharmed in the accident. He managed to swim towards other surf skiers before he was rescued by patrolling first responders. After being examined, it was determined that Drummond had not suffered any injuries from the ordeal.

Drummond said his good fortune led him to a nearby boat. “I just ripped my leg rope (attached to the surf ski) off and I swam towards these guys here who were paddling towards me, and then just jumped onto their craft and pulled me out of the water to safety.”

The teen realizes he had a rare encounter. “It was an absolute freak accident. One of those one-in-a-million things that happened. I might go and buy a lottery ticket,” he quipped. The shark left a sizeable hole in Drummond’s surf ski. However, he insists that everyone should still enjoy going to the beach. “We were out in pretty deep waters, this shouldn’t put other people off,” he insisted.

Shark attacks are still a rare occurrence

Some of his smashed surf ski was seen on the shoreline. Surf lifesavers immediately went out to look for the shark. It is estimated to be a Great White, about three meters long. The section of the beach will remain closed for today as a safety precaution. In all his life, Craig Burton, race director for South Australian Ocean and Surf Ski Paddlers said he had never seen a shark attack like this one. “I’ve personally been doing this for well over 40 years and I do know some of our paddlers have seen sharks while out paddling, but never anything like this,’ he told ABC. 

Every year, about 80 unprovoked shark attacks are reported globally. Even though they aren’t common, many people fear them. This is because of hearing of serial attacks, such as the Jersey Shore attacks of 1916. Of course, there are also horror movies like the Jaws series that promote the idea. Out of more than 489 known shark species, only three types are responsible for a double-digit number of fatal and unprovoked human attacks. These species include the great white, tiger, and bull Sharks. The oceanic whitetip has likely killed even more people who were stranded at sea. However, these deaths are not recorded in official statistics.

According to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), there were 2,785 verified unprovoked attacks throughout the world between 1958 and 2016, with 439 fatalities. An average of four people yearly died from bites between 2001 and 2010.