Surfer fights off great white shark

2017 shark attack bite_Marcel Brundler Cathedral Rock Australia_3

A surfer had a close up encounter with a great white shark off an Australian beach.

2017 shark attack bite_Marcel Brundler Cathedral Rock Australia_3
Photo: ABC News/Cameron Best

Marcel Brundler was hitting the waves August 29 off Cathedral Rock, near Lorne southwest of Melbourne.

The 37-year-old was talking to his surfing partner as they floated 10 to 15 meters offshore in the water, when something big popped out of the water.

“At first I didn’t think anything of it, we have lots of dolphins in the water here, but then I realised it was big, much bigger,” Mr Brundler told The Age. “I’m no expert but this was at least three metres [10 feet] long.”

He made the decision to stay calm and watch the shark as it circled him. He said the shark looked at him as it turned around and bit.

“All his teeth are straight through my wetsuit. I had a vest underneath because it’s freezing cold underneath. I just felt all that saliva from the shark on my skin.”

Brundler was wearing a thick wetsuit along with a vest to protect against cold waters. The suit also provided a barrier between the shark’s teeth and the surfer’s skin.

“When he got me he kind of dragged me on a little bit. Luckily I was wearing a really, really thick rubber wetsuit, which probably saved me from bigger injuries,” Mr Brundler told ABC News

He began punching the shark on its head until it let go.  There was blood on his board and he thinks the shark may have cut itself on the fiberglass board.

2017 shark attack bite_Marcel Brundler Cathedral Rock Australia_2
Photo: Marcel Brundler/ 3AW

The shark continued to circle until Brundler caught what he called the best wave of his life and rode to safety.

While his board has several large teeth marks, the Swiss national came away with on a minor scratch on his back.

There have been a total of 71* shark attack bites in 2017, 5 of which were fatal*; 34 were reported in the US, with 22 occurring in Florida** and one in Hawaii. Ten occurred in Australia, one of which was fatal and one with no injury. Four unconfirmed worldwide and not included in the total count.

All locations have been marked on the 2017 Shark Attack Bites Tracking Map.

*Two may be scavenge **One report may have been outside of Florida waters.

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