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“I Tried Punching It”: Shark-Attack Surviving Surfer Revealed the Three Common Questions Faced in His Worst Nightmare Once

Published 03/18/2023, 1:08 PM EDT

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Humans do throw themselves at the peril of deep waters more often than one might think. Sharks, one of the large, magnificent beasts of the seas, then sense an opportunity and launch an attack. While many have perished over the years due to shark attacks, some have also survived to tell their tale. In recent decades, there have been more than a few survival stories of shark attacks. One such story belongs to surfing enthusiast Brett Connellan.

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Quenching the rising curiosities among the general public regarding shark attacks, Connelan once shared the three most common questions he faces about it. Here’s him talking about it.

Brett Connellan sharing some insights from his personal experience


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Shark attacks and their successful subsequent survival attempts, including the one that almost took TikToker Andrew Hooper’s life, have raised intrigue among people about those situations. Survivors get asked questions along the lines of ‘what was it like?’, ‘how did you survive?’ etc. So, when Brett Connellan made it out of his harrowing experience, he forever became known as a “shark attack survivor”. The horrific incident that happened on March 30, 2016, at Bombo Beach in New South Wales, brought him inches closer to death.

Connellan said in a 2021 Tiktok video, “Question number 1 is ‘Did it hurt?’ pretty funny question it might sound like”. But his answer, shocking as it may sound, was “No”. This is because “the adrenaline helps”, as was written in the caption.


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The 2nd question was regarding the size of the shark which was somewhere around 2.5-3 meters. While it isn’t as massive as the normally people might imagine it to be (possibly due to its intimidation factor), “2.5 meters i.e. 8-10 feet” is still massive. In the video caption, Connellan also wrote, “I tried punching it” i.e. the shark. And this was in reference to the 3rd most common question.

Connellan said, “What was going through your mind when you realized you were getting attacked by a shark?” was the other question. While a valid question, it boils down to fight, flight, or freeze. Connellan was “frozen” and basically numb in that situation. Then, as the shark tried attacking him, he fought back. But he wouldn’t have survived long like that.


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Defying all odds, Connellan gave himself another shot at life

It was his friend who saved his life in the end. Connellan lived that day in 2016 to tell his tale, but he didn’t come out unharmed. The shark took a good large chunk out of his leg, but couldn’t get any further. He then ended the video by saying, “There is a lot more to the story than that”.


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Although Connellan can now retrace his journey and share his experience with others, it wasn’t an easy road to recovery for him. After doctors provided him with a dark outcome, it nearly broke his spirit. But with resilience and determination, Connellan overcame his struggles to get back out in the water to do what he’s always loved doing – Surfing.

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Written by:

Tanmay Roy


One take at a time

Tanmay Roy is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. He has done MBA and B.Tech in Civil Engineering.
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Edited by:

Anupama Ghosh