As far as surfboards go, this one’s pretty priceless.
A surfer found himself catching a wave on the back of a thrashing great white shark off the coast of Oregon, US.
Doug Niblack was trying to catch one last wave before going to work when his longboard hit something as hard as rock off the coast.
He looked down to see a dorsal fin in front of his feet as he stood on what he described as 10 feet (three metres) of shark back, as wide as his surfboard, and as black as his wetsuit. A tail thrashed back and forth and the water churned around him.
“It was pretty terrifying just seeing the shape emerge out of nothing and just being under me,” the surfer of six years said. “And the fin coming out of the water. It was just like the movies.”
Niblack’s thrilling few seconds with the shark was a rare encounter, but not unprecedented, according to Ralph Collier, president of the Shark Research Committee in Canoga Park, California.
Also the director of the Global Shark Attack File in Princeton, New Jersey, Collier said said he had spoken to a woman who was kayaking off Catalina Island, California, in 2008 when a shark slammed her kayak from underneath and sent her flying into the air. She then landed on the back of
the shark, Collier said. “At that point the shark started to swim out to sea, so she jumped off its back.”
Jake Marks, from the US Coastguard, saw Niblack get knocked from his board.
He joined Niblack in paddling as fast as he could for shore after seeing a large shape swimming between them just beneath the surface.
“I have no reason to doubt there was a shark out there,” said Marks. “With the damage to his board, the way he was yelling and trembling afterwards – there is no other explanation for that.”
“I’m just yelling: ‘Shark!’ I thought for sure I was gone.”
Niblack said the encounter hasn’t put him off surfing. “I’ll definitely go back out,” he said. “It’s just the surf sucks right now. I’ll wait until that gets better, then go back out.”