‘I just stomped on the shark,’ says Albany surfer

John Dobson, Cameron Newbold and Gabrielle KnowlesAlbany Advertiser
VideoSwimmers, including children, have been forced to flee the water in Mandurah after a man was attacked by a shark.

Albany’s Noah Symmans, 20, says he is “just happy to be in one piece” after he was bitten by a shark at a Mandurah surf break.

Mr Symmans was surfing at Pyramids beach near Mandurah this morning when he was bitten on the calf by a shark at about 8.40am.

He fought off the shark before dashing to nearby rocks to safety.

“I was surfing with another mate at a known break in Mandurah and it was fairly eerie vibes, a couple salmon were about and it was overcast,” he said

“Super sharky-vibes.

“We were mid conversation waiting in the line-up when I felt something grab my left leg and try and pull me under, so with my other leg I stomped the shark until it released me and we gunned it for the rocks.”

Mr Symmans praised life guards and paramedics who treated him at the beach.

“I was treated by life guards and paramedics and flown by chopper to Royal Perth Hospital where I will undergo surgery tomorrow,” he said.

“I’m just happy to be in one piece and thankful for all the help from the life guards and paramedics and the love from all my family and friends.”

Surf Life Saving WA operations supervisor Jake Webb said one of the Mr Symman’s friends, who was in the water with the victim, ran to alert life savers.

Police initially reported the man had been dangling his legs from rocks when he was attacked.

But the injured man told bystanders that he felt something grab his left foot. He quickly shook his right foot and managed to shake himself free before swimming to the safety of the rocks where surf lifesavers treated him.

Talented Albany body boarder Noah Symmans in 2015.
Camera IconTalented Albany body boarder Noah Symmans in 2015. Credit: Laurie Benson

He was the moved to the first aid room at Port Bouvard Surf Club.

The man was wearing flippers when he was bitten.

Mr Webb said the victim had “four puncture marks” on his lower calf. The injuries are not life threatening.

It is unclear how far from the beach the victim was when the shark attacked or the type of shark involved.

“Our helicopter did a search of the area after the incident with nothing sighted,” Mr Webb said.

Albany's Noah Symmans competes in round 1 of the WA Bodyboard Titles at Mandurah Wedge.
Camera IconAlbany's Noah Symmans competes in round 1 of the WA Bodyboard Titles at Mandurah Wedge. Credit: Surfing WA/Majeks

St John Ambulance area manager Brendan Saich said when he arrived at the beach lifesavers had already carried the injured bodyboarder to the Port Bouvard SLSC first aid room and paramedics were treating him.

Mr Saich said when he arrived, the man’s injured foot had already been bandaged.

“I didn’t see his injuries but the crews said it was some lacerations to his left foot. I believe it was more his foot (that was hurt) and it was his foot and shin that were bandaged.”

“The guy was conscious, talking and in really good spirits considering.”

Mr Saich said fortunately the man was not bleeding heavily, although the wounds were relatively deep.

He said initially there had not been good blood circulation to the wounded foot but paramedics managed to improve that and also provided pain management before he was flown to Royal Perth Hospital.

Mr Saich said the man’s injuries were not life-threatening but because trauma injuries were treated at RPH, it was quicker to fly him in the RAC Rescue Helicopter than take him by ambulance.

VideoA new shark warning system trial has been rolled out in WA's south west.

Brian Williams, past president of the Mandurah Board Riders, said the victim had seemed in “good spirits” after the attack, which he said had happened while he was boarding near The Cut.

“I did seem him in the aftermath and he seemed in good spirits” Mr Williams said.

A board riders event was cancelled, with the club confirming that the man bitten was not a member of the club. It is understood that the man may be from the Perth or Fremantle area.

Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup was at the beach minutes after the attack and said he could see two helicopters in the air and another on the beach.

He said there were a lot of surf live saving volunteers, paramedics and police on the scene.

“There is a great volunteer community here who responded to the attack so quickly,” Mr Kirkup said.

“The fact there were so many families around and nippers were about to start, it’s starting to have an impact on people in Mandurah in terms of fear in the community.

“When you have kids witness a bloke be pulled from the beach it really shakes their confidence and willingness to go into the water.”

Mr Kirkup said there were a lot of families and nippers at the beach at the time.

In 2015, an 18-year-old apprentice electrician was bitten on the foot at the same beach.

Eli Zawadzki, a Mandurah local, was surfing about 5pm on a Wednesday in October when he was attacked.

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