Teen scampers onto rocks to avoid shark attack
THERE'S no doubt the huge shark that stalked young Matt Simon on his surfboard in the early hours of Monday morning was on a mission.
It nosed his board and circled around coming back for a second nudge, then circled beneath him as he desperately tried to make his way to shallow water.
He was out around 6am, test driving a brand new board at Shelly Beach on the south side of the Look at Me Now Headland at Emerald Beach.
The 15-year-old has been surfing there for as long as he can remember and has never experienced anything like it.
After catching a wave he was paddling out for more when he saw a huge black shape below him.
"I knew instantly it was a shark. It had those distinct fins and it was way too big to be a dolphin."
It swam out below him then he saw the water bubbling and churning on the surface as it stopped and turned and came back towards him and nudged the side of his board.
"I thought 'wow that's got a lot of power' but it didn't throw me off."
His first instinct was to paddle towards the rocks where the water was shallower and creep back into shore that way, but he didn't want to put his arms and legs too far into the water.
"I had my feet in the air and kind of half paddled with my arms to get away from it. I looked around and saw it coming for me again.
"It came up underneath me again and I was yelling and screaming. I was freaking out to be honest.
"It kept coming back for me and I thought 'I've got nothing; I can't do a thing'."
By that stage people had gathered to see what was going on.
Older sister Annie works at the Emerald Beach corner store and has had people coming in to ask about it.
"Lots of people who saw it were really shaken up about it. They basically thought they were going to be watching somebody getting eaten."
They estimate the shark to be about 8 foot-long and other surfers have told of a shark, up to 10-feet, frequenting the area.
One surfer described it as a submarine with teeth.
Parents Rowena and Peter want to let people know about the encounter so others can be aware and make their own decisions.
They have both encouraged Matt to get back in the water and do what he loves.
He has been surfing every day since the close encounter.
"I was pretty shaken up when I got home but Dad said to get back in the water. I was really on edge at first but I'm getting over it.
"It's their house not mine," Matt said.