Belgian Surfer Attacked by Great White at North Point


Another day, another shark attack. North Point beach was closed to the public after a 3.5-meter Great White attacked a surfer Monday evening.

North Point surf spot

According to then off-duty lifeguard Tom Van Beem, he and Catherine Visser, a 28-year old Belgian woman, were the last few surfers in the water when he felt a movement underneath him.

Tom Van Beem, 23-year-old Rottnest Island lifeguard

“The water started doing that gurgling thing, like when it gets pulled over the reef, but we didn’t think much of it. Then out of nowhere, I saw the girl get launched into the air, followed [by] a huge pair of fins and the whole side of this Great White. I was only a few meters away, and the thing must have been nearly four meters in length,” he said in an interview with Stab Magazine.

Van Deem described the attack to be similar to what happened to three-time World Champion Mick Fanning.

Fortunately, he had some training with shark attacks so he knew time is of the essence. “I knew that if the shark had hit one of her major arteries, she would have only had a minute or so before she’d pass out from blood loss,” he recalled. “Once she said she was OK, we paddled 50 meters straight to the rocks, floated over the barnacles, and scurried up as fast as possible.”

Luckily, no one was hurt. Visser was understandably shaken and emotional but suffered no injury. The same can’t be said for her board, as the shark left it covered with teeth marks.

Visser’s board with shark gouged marks | Photo Credit: Stab Magazine

“Very, very lucky that no one was injured and everyone’s fine, just a few minor dings on her board. If it wanted to, it could’ve taken a big limb or something like that,” Van Beem told 9news.

BlinkSurf wishes Catherine Visser a speedy recovery and just like Fanning, we hope she returns to surfing with much gusto.

Watch Tom Van Deem’s recount of the shark attack at North Point.

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