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Surfer Survives Shark Attack by Punching Animal in the Eye and Yelling ‘Fuck Off’

The 60-year-old New Zealander believes it was "the only thing to do".
February 24, 2020, 1:53am
Grewat White Shark
Image via Wikimedia Commons user Olga Ernst, CC licence 4.0

This article originally appeared on VICE Asia.

When 60-year-old surfer Nick Minogue was attacked by a shark off the coast of New Zealand on Saturday morning, he responded with the kind of frank assertiveness that one can only hope to achieve in times of extreme distress: by telling the animal to “fuck off” and punching it in the eye.

Minogue, an Auckland local, was surfing at Pauanui Beach on north island's east coast when, at about 11:30AM, a specimen that is thought to have been a three-metre long great white sunk its teeth into the front of his board, the NZ Herald reports.


"I was quite a long way out, there was quite a solid swell running, I was just paddling along and got hit on the side of my elbow and forearm," said Minogue. "By the time I realised what was going on, its teeth were definitely latched on to the front section of the board."

In the midst of the fracas, Minogue remembered an oft-cited piece of advice regarding self-defence in the event of a shark attack: namely, that sharks hate it when you hit them in the nose or the eye.

"So I actually shouted at it 'fuck off!' and went to punch it in the eye and missed,” he recalled. “Then I pulled my fist back and shouted 'fuck off!' again and got it right smack-bang in the eye.

"In between the two punches it crunched down a bit more on the board and then disengaged its teeth, got its jaws off, and then I got brushed by the dorsal fin and the tail fin and swam off."

Minogue paddled back into shore with blood dripping out of the sleeve of his wetsuit, and said he was "definitely bumped by something" on his way back in. He later discovered that two teeth had put holes in his wetsuit, one of them puncturing the skin of his arm. “Thankfully it wasn't too deep,” he said. "I've still got an arm and fingers, it could have been a lot worse.”

Clinton Duffy, a marine scientist at the Department of Conservation, said "the photograph of the bite to the board is consistent with a fairly small white shark, aka white pointer, great white", according to the NZ Herald, while shark scientist Riley Elliott also noted that Minogue’s description of the animal matched that of a great white.

"It was a grey shark with a white bottom, probably a great white,” Minogue said. “It was a big head and jaw. I kind of sat up in shock and decided to hit it. That was the only thing to do."

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