MIRACULOUS ESCAPE FOR PADDLER ATTACKED BY SHARK DURING RACE
Looking at Nat Drummond’s surfski, it’s easy to fear the worst.
But the Australian paddler has somehow walked away unharmed from a horror shark attack that occurred seconds into a downwind race in Adelaide.
“I might buy a lottery ticket,” he says. “It’s absolutely crazy.
“It’s something I never even thought could happen.”
The 19 year-old had just begun the third round of the SA Ocean Paddlers series at Seacliff Beach when he was thrown from his FENN and metres into the air.
“We weren’t even a minute into the race. I was trying to get ahead of the pack when I just felt my ski lift out of the water,” he recalls.
“Next thing I knew, I was in the air… I didn’t really have time to process what had happened.
“I saw it fall back into the water and I swam away.
“Thankfully my mates were there. They were really awesome and helped me out, paddled towards me and pulled me onto their skis.
“It just shows how good the surf lifesaving community is to help each other out like this.”
A teenager taking part in a surf-ski race off Adelaide’s Seacliff Beach has been attacked by a Great White Shark.
— 9News Adelaide (@9NewsAdel) October 23, 2022
It was that quick-thinking that ensured Nat’s safety.
He stayed on the back of fellow competitors’ skis before climbing into an IRB and returning to the beach, miraculously escaping injury.
“My mum and dad were straight to me as soon as I got to the beach and gave me a big hug,” he says.
“I was kind of laughing about it before… but it’s just a bit surreal.”
Unsurprisingly, the race was abandoned the moment the incident happened and the tight-knit paddling community spent the afternoon debriefing the scary scenario.
And while he was in a potentially disastrous situation himself, Nat immediately thought of others, urging the ocean community not to be deterred by the attack.
“Coming into summer, I don’t want this incident to scare people away from the beach,” he says.
“I’ve been a surf lifesaver here at Seacliff since I was six years old. I had never really seen a shark here in my life.”
“The sharks are always going to be out there. As paddlers, we always know the risk when we go out into the ocean.
“We’re intruding on their space. We were fairly deep too, a few hundred metres off the coast. It’s just something that can happen.
“It’s very unlikely. It’s a one in a million thing that can happen. But this is just something we can face.”