"I was off my board and on top of the bloody thing. It was like I was submerged on a rock, it was so hard and rough."
Three days ago, foilboarder and noted local surfer Christian Bungate was hit by a Great White at the site of last weekend’s Tweed Heads Pro, the animal, which was described as a “tank”, leaving behind a tooth in the foil’s carbon fibres.
Bungate, was, initially at least, loathe to talk to the press, preferring, according to friends, a few days to process the event.
The hit came two weeks after Nick Slater was killed by a Great White at the Superbank, forty-five minutes drive north, four months after Rob Pedretti was killed by a Great White at Kingscliff, ten minutes drive north, one month after longboarder Chantelle Doyle was pulled out of a Great White’s mouth by her husband at Port Macquarie, a few hours south, and two months after teenager Mani Hart-Deville was killed by a Great White at Wooli, a couple of hours south.
So, yeah, Bungate knew it was a close call.
“It was like there was an oil slick next to me, it was so big. It came up so slowly, and I literally shit myself and kicked it as hard as I could with my right leg.”
The White hit his board and knocked him into the water.
“I was off my board and on top of the bloody thing. It was like I was submerged on a rock, it was so hard and rough.”
As he managed to scramble off, the predator came at him with jaws gaping, but bit the board instead. Mr Bungate was convinced if he had been on a standard surfboard rather than a foil board, which has a 70cm keel and wings instead of a fin, he would be dead.
“I’m 100 per cent sure if I was on a normal surfboard it would’ve given the shark clear access to get straight back at me and it probably would’ve taken out my stomach,” he said. “Instead it caught the wing of my foil board, hence why there’s a bloody tooth in it. I left my board and I crawled up the beach and I lay on my stomach bawling my eyes out.”