Survivor says dolphins, a brave bystander, JS surfboard and veganism all contributed to his luck
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 2 December, 2016 - This week Colin Rowland was attacked by a great white while surfing at Seven Mile Beach in New South Wales. During the encounter the shark catapulted Rowland into the air and got caught in his surf leash and dragged him under water.
Fortunately a piece of Rowland’s surfboard got stuck in the shark’s mouth when the giant fish circled back to bite him. The man said he was hitting and kicking the shark and doing everything he could to try to survive.
In the end Rowland came away from the encounter with lacerations to his foot, leg and arm. But he said it could have been much worse. In fact he claims that dolphins, a well-placed surfboard, a vegan diet and the bravery of a complete stranger helped him survive and make it to shore.
"All of a sudden the dolphins were completely underneath me, about six... and then it happened,” Rowland told 7 News. "And I just fought and fought and fought and then he came up face first and that's just when I was kicking him... just kicking, kicking," he said.
When the shark moved away from Rowland, Billy Eitz, a local surfer put the victim on his board and paddled him to shore. Rowland said he was leaking large amounts of blood into the water so it was a very brave thing for Eitz to do. Eitz said he did it because he couldn’t live with himself if he did nothing.
"It was terrifying but to be honest I think it would have been cowardly [if I had] paddled straight past him and went straight to the beach and watch someone die," Mr Eitz told 7 News.
Colin Rowland also told his family not to worry about him since his vegan diet puts off sharks. Rowland added that he does not support shark culling or drum lines in response to the shark issues faced along the New South Wales coast.