Marcel Brundler fought off a shark while surfing at Cathedral Rock. Pics: Peter Ristevski

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Veteran surfer Marcel Brundler feared he was going to be mauled to death by a four-metre white while catching a wave at a popular Victorian Surf Coast break. He credits his $800 fibreglass surfboard for saving his life.

“He cut himself on the glass and then left,” Mr Brundler said. “That’s the only reason I’m still here.”

The Lorne surfer was enjoying a midmorning surf at Cathedral Rock on Tuesday when he thought he spotted a dolphin in the distance. The dolphin turned out to be a four metre long “white pointer shark” swimming directly towards Mr Brundler.

Panicked, Mr Brundler was left with no option but to fight for his life. “At some stage, it had me in its jaw, I was shouting and punching it while it attacked me,” Mr Brundler said. “I punched him as many times as I could. We all knew he was bigger, stronger and faster than me.”

The shark attacked Mr Brundler’s board, leaving multiple bite marks, and tore his wetsuit. Mr Brundler escaped with no injuries.

His horrifying encounter prompted a part-closure of Lorne Beach, with Fisheries Victoria warning anyone against swimming within a 10 kilometre radius of Cathedral Rocks.

Lorne Leading Senior Constable Mick Atkinson said a number of surfers were in the water at the time of the attack. “There were four surfers in the water at the time and they paddled in pretty quickly after that.”

Lucas Von Sanchez, who took to social media to warn of the sighting, said a group of onlookers saw the shark approach Mr Brundler and immediately panicked.

“You could see from outside the water that it was trying to bite him repeatedly,” Mr Von Sanchez said.

“I surf there everyday and in all the years I have been there I have never heard of one ever. Now everyone will think twice before going in the water.”

Lorne Beach Pavilion’s Siana Wijono said the news spread quickly throughout Lorne. “Everyone has been talking about it,” Ms Wijono said.

Cathedral Rocks is a prime surfing spots along the Great Ocean Road.

There have been 13 unprovoked shark attacks in Victoria since 2005, according to the Global Shark Attack File, and 18 fatal attacks in Australia in the past six years.

Mr Brundler, who police said was remarkably calm after the attack, has vowed to get back on the board next week.
“Maybe not on my own though, it will be a little scary,” he said.



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