Matt Manik was surfing off Middleton on Wednesday, when what he thought was a stingray started circling him. He soon realised it was actually a curious shark. When a 2m bronze whaler circled and approached him as he surfed off Middleton on Wednesday, Mr Manik instinctively landed a heavy left hook to deter it.
“It got closer and closer and about one foot away and I didn’t really know what to do and it got too close, so I belted it on the head, right between its eyes,” Mr Manik said to heraldsun.com.au.
The shark briefly considered coming back for more, before slinking back into the ocean when it realised this was a fight it could not win.
“I hit it pretty good. I gave it a decent left hit and for it to come back that was pretty surprising. I’d already given it one and I was gonna do what I needed to do,” he said.
Luckily, he didn’t need to deploy his fist again, and was relieved to see the shark swim away. “I just hope I didn’t hurt him too badly, I think he was a bit dazed but OK.” a furniture maker from Adelaide said.
“At the time I was pretty focused because I didn’t want this thing to bite my new board, it cost me a thousand bucks,” he said. It’s a Channel Islands Average Joe, in case you’re wondering, according to Stab.
Mr Manik ran to alert another surfer about 100m away, while his mate sat in their heated car. “The other bloke surfing was pretty surprised, he said he’d surfed there for 60 years and had only ever seen one or two,” Mr Manik said.
The 39-year-old, said he had been surfing since his teenage years but had never had a close encounter with a shark. “Yeah, it’s a box I wanted to tick off before turning 40,” he joked.
“I’ll get back out there on Sunday but I might sit with a mate for a bit in case one comes again so we can tag team it this time,” he said.
Mr Manik was humble when asked to compare his feat with Mick Fanning’s famous punch up with a Great White shark during a competition in August last year. “I think his shark was a bit bigger than mine,” he laughed.