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Man fights off shark attack, keeps on surfing

A surfer in Australia fought off a shark with his board — and then continued surfing, a lifeguard said.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A surfer in Australia fought off a seven-foot shark with his board — and kept on surfing, a lifeguard said.

Simon Letch returned to Sydney’s Bronte Beach 30 minutes after surviving the attack, despite the beach being closed because of the danger, lifeguard Aaron Graham said.

“He was pretty calm about it, very laid back,” said Graham, who was on the beach when the 40-year-old surfer rode his damaged board back in after the attack.

Letch was sitting on his board about 100 feet offshore when the shark attacked. He told a newspaper that he rammed the board, a recent 40th birthday present from his girlfriend, into the shark’s mouth. He said it was a bronze whaler.

“I shoved the board at it like a barge pole,” Sydney’s The Sunday Telegraph quoted him as saying.

'It seemed like an eternity'
He said the shark released the board and he quickly headed for shore.

“It was only about 10 or 15 seconds that I was waiting for a wave but it seemed like an eternity,” he told the newspaper. “You think you’d go to jelly when something like this happens but I was surprisingly calm.”

Nine Network television news reported that Letch is English.

The shark took two bites of the fiberglass board before stopping the attack, Graham told The Associated Press by telephone.

“There were two big puncture mark bites on the board, but it didn’t actually bite a hunk out of it so he was able to ride it in,” Graham said

He came back 30 minutes later to surf with a replacement board, Graham said.

Last month, 20-foot great white shark tore a man in half, killing him instantly as he snorkeled off Australia’s west coast.