Grant Wardell, a Durban North man who went fishing about 1.2km offshore of Westbrook Beach, north of Durban, says he is thankful to be alive after a 3 metre Great White shark catapulted him from his paddle ski boat and left a shark tooth in the boat as a memory of the incident.
Despite being toppled from his paddle ski by the force of the attack on Boxing Day, Wardell miraculously survived unscathed, he told Traveller24.
He said he and his bother Jamie had gone out fishing early on Saturday morning, 26 December. “We were using live bait that we trawled behind our surf skis,” he said.
“We were about 1.2km out, when I saw the [the shark] coming out at me. It jumped straight out of the water, and went right past my nose!”
Wardell says he was thrown in the water by the force of the impact of the shark on his boat. He says he clearly remembers seeing “the white of its under belly”, before going in the water.
“Although I don’t even remember being in the water, I remember thinking to myself to get back on my boat as soon as possible.” He jumped onto the bottom-side of his now-overturned paddle ski and regained his senses.
Meanwhile, Wardell’s brother Jamie had witnessed the entire ordeal from mere metres away.
Jamie would help him get back onto his paddle ski, but the boat had to be turned right side up first…
“The scariest moment for me was that I had to jump back into the water to turn the boat back around,” he says.
And his fear was justified. Jamie still had his live bait trawling behind his paddle ski, and while the two men were making their way back to shore, Grant says they “could see the fin of the Great White following [them] again, only five metres away”.
Once past the shark nets, Grant Wardell says he breathed again.
He says the incident won’t keep him from going out to fish again, but he will have to get his ski fixed first.