Stab Magazine | WA: Great White Launches Woman Into The Air

WA: Great White Launches Woman Into The Air

She’s unharmed; her board, not so much.

news // Sep 26, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Yesterday at North Point, the screaming righthander in Australia’s southwest, a twenty-something Belgian woman was sent skyward by a hungry Great White. Luckily for the victim, the shark hit only her surfboard, causing three bloody toothmarks and another major dent in the foam but no bodily damage the girl. 

Stab called Tom Van Beem, a 23-year-old Rottnest Island lifeguard, who witnessed the attack firsthand.

Stab: Tom! Tell us what happened yesterday.
Tom Van Beem: Well, I was just out at Northies around 6 PM. The waves were pretty awful so there were only five of us out, and then three of those five started heading in, so it was just myself and this girl in the lineup. The water started doing that gurgling thing, like when it gets pulled over the reef, but we didn’t think much of it. Then out of nowhere I saw the girl get launched into the air, followed a huge pair of fins and the whole side of this Great White. I was only a few meters away, and the thing must have been nearly four meters in length.

What happened next?
I’m a lifeguard, and I have some training for shark situations, so the first thing I did was ask if she was ok. I knew that if the shark had hit one of her major arteries, she would have only had a minute or so before she’d pass out from blood loss. Once she said she was ok, we paddled 50 meters straight to the rocks, floated over the barnacles, and scurried up as fast as possible.


Now the question becomes: to fix the board, or to hang it on the wall as a memento? We wouldn’t fault the victim either way. 

Were you looking back the whole time? Did you see it again?
Nah mate, I didn’t look back at all. I had this sinking feeling that I could get hit at any moment, but luckily it didn’t come back for us. I was just trying to get my mates’ attention on the rocks so they could help us, in case she’d been hit worse than she knew.

How was the girl once you reached the shore?
She was pretty rattled, tearing up, just kind of in shock I guess. I think we all were.

Another close call, another sigh of relief from the general surfing public. Stab wishes this woman the best, and we hope this incident hasn’t deterred her from surfing altogether. The Olympics are coming up and something tells me the Belgian surf team needs all the help it can get. 



Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

“I Don’t Want To Say Schizophrenic But We Saw A Plethora Of Different Scenarios To The Wave Out Here”

Rio Waida, Teresa Bonvalot, Harrison Roach & Honolua Bloomfield win Manly.

May 24, 2022

The Former Top 5 Surfer Carrying The Next Big Surfer-Owned Beer Company On His Back 

What would you do if Matt Hoy showed up to deliver you beer?

May 23, 2022

What Happened To The Best Surf Film Ever Made?

Captain Martin Daly demystifies the conspiracies surrounding his and Michael Oblowitz's Surfer Poll-winning "Sea of…

May 23, 2022

Stab Podcast: The Dane Reynolds Interview

Carrying the torch for authentic creativity, storytelling, performance and passion.

May 23, 2022

Waves To Be Lost And Waves To Be Found 

A silver lining to the problem of sea level rise.

May 22, 2022

California University Professors Claim (Most) Wetsuits Are Being Made Wrong In Peppery Peer-Reviewed Study

“What the surf industry is marketing is not being driven by science.”

May 22, 2022

Why G-Land’s CT Comeback Is Ten Years Late

A tale of geopolitics, swooshes in Surf City, and hurricanes in the urban jungle.

May 21, 2022

An Interview With Transgender Longboarding Champion Sasha Jane Lowerson

"In longboarding, the girls are so much better than the guys, and that's just a…

May 21, 2022


The Best Surfing I’ve Ever Seen: Blake Kueny

Insight from a man who spent good years pointing a camera in John John’s general…

May 20, 2022

First Transgender Woman To Compete In Surfing Wins WA Longboard Event

History has been written

May 20, 2022

WSL Now Sponsored By Ladder

A seemingly odd partnership that actually makes perfect sense.

May 19, 2022

Now Unlocked: Former’s New Film, ‘System Is Yours’

17-minutes of pleasure from Dane Reynolds, Craig Anderson, Droid, Ben Howard and Kaito Ohashi.

May 19, 2022


Bobby Martinez Isn’t Going To Sweet Talk You Into The Bobby Quad

"It kept me in the water on shitty little gutless days. Take that how you…

May 19, 2022

Dane Reynolds On “The Best Thing In The World,” Business, Fin Splay, The WSL, Modern Surf Culture And More

The Stab Interview: Sealtooth.

May 18, 2022


Chapter11 Drops Three New Edits

Clean waves, cleaner rail work, and A-frame goodness.  

May 18, 2022


The First Time JJF Visited The GOAT Ranch

When wavepools mesmerized.

May 18, 2022

A Small Fat Nothing Burger

The Snapper CS will be a tough act to follow for Manly. Here’s why.

May 18, 2022


⅕ Of The CT Get Boxed 

706.5 meters away from Main Break, a logistical snafu away from contest venue.

May 17, 2022