Stab Magazine | 13-Year-Old Girl Battles 10-Foot Great White In South Africa
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13-Year-Old Girl Battles 10-Foot Great White In South Africa

These ZAF shark headlines are bordering on hysteria. 

news // Jul 19, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Fins and breaches have become to the J-Bay Open what tramp stamps and meth are to the U.S. Open. With a shark popping up in Filipe Toledo’s heat yesterday and WSL commish Kieren Perrow calling the comp off today after the Great White air show, the moral of the story is that South Africa’s sharky…but you already knew that. And while we almost expect CT heroes like Mick Fanning to ward off the jaws of death with their fists, it’s a whole different story when a creature in a grey suit tries to steal away a cute, little 13-year-old girl.

Enter the life and times of Zoe Steyn. Surfing this week at Nahoon Reef near East London, the teenager was reportedly sitting on her board about 75 meters offshore when the encounter occurred. Coming up from underneath, the shark, which was estimated to be approximately 10 feet in length, bit into her board.

Screen Shot 2017 07 18 at 12.46.02 PM

Yum.

“I just saw this huge black eye looking straight at me and a huge bang as it took my board and began shaking it,” Steyn told the local press. “It latched on with its jaws just missing my leg and it tipped me backwards and I fell in and I just saw the black shape of it in the water and panicked.”

“I heard another surfer screaming at me to get back on my board and I pulled myself onto it but was terrified of where the shark was and what to do. Then I saw a surfer friend, JP Veaudry, paddling straight out to get me and he told me not to think about the shark but just paddle for all I was worth,” she continued. “He kept asking me if I had been bitten by the shark but I said I didn’t know as I was in a state of shock and adrenaline was just pumping through my body.”

Consider the situation and celebrate the poise of Steyn. She’s only been surfing for three years and has never seen a shark in her life, yet she battled and paddled and came away with nary a scratch. It’s taken Fanning a couple years to put his shark incident behind him. They say kids are resilient; apparently, that’s true as Steyn was back out in the water the next day.

“My memory of it is this big black eye looking straight at me,” she said. “I can’t thank JP enough for risking his life to paddle out and save me and get back to shore. It has taught me never to surf alone ever again.”

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