Nude Beach Surfer Headbutts His Way into Shark Attack, Punches His Way Out

"He was just going about his business and I headbutted him so he retaliated."
October 22, 2018, 5:40pm
Paul Kenny describes the recent Samurai Beach shark attack that landed him in the hospital.
screenshot via ITV News.

Shark attacks are goddamn terrifying. Sometimes you're just minding your own business, basking in the ocean or trying to take a really good photo for Instagram or whatever, and then some hungry beast from the great depths reminds you that your puny status as a social media influencer doesn't mean much against a shark's razor-sharp teeth.

But when a shark chomped down on a surfer last weekend, the guy didn't just accept defeat and let the thing toss him around in the water like that lady in the beginning of Jaws. He decided to fight back—by beating it off with his bare hands, the West Australian reports.


Last Saturday morning, 51-year-old Paul Kenny was surfing at Samurai Nudist Beach north of Newcastle when he accidentally swam right into the hungry shark.

"I went to catch the last wave back in, put my head down, and headbutted the shark," Kenny said, according to the West Australian. "I didn’t know it was there and couldn’t see it because it was churned up white water."

The shark bit down on Kenny's right bicep and wouldn't let go, but he still managed to have his wits about him enough to hatch a plan. Somehow, in the midst of the terrifying experience, Kenny was reminded of a surfer named Mick Fanning, who fought off a shark back in 2015. So Kenny followed Fanning's lead and just started wailing on the thing.

"I just started punching it until it let go," Kenny told CNN in a separate interview. "[I knew that] if it took my legs, I'd be gone. I wouldn't have been able to walk out, get out."

Luckily, some combination of the headbutt and the fists of fury managed to piss the shark off enough to make it go find some other prey, and it let go. Kenny was able to swim back to shore, where an ambulance raced him to a nearby hospital, where he got 20 stitches.

Near-death experience aside, Kenny doesn't really blame the shark for taking a bite out of him. "I was in his world," Kenny told the West Australian. "He was just going about his business and I headbutted him so he retaliated."

A surprisingly chill attitude for a guy who almost got eaten alive by a fearsome sea creature, but come on—what else would you expect from a tough-ass surfer in his 50s who spends his weekends at a nude beach?

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