In 2005, Sonoma County Coast woman Megan Halavais was surfing on Salmon Creek Beach with friends when a great white shark came, seemingly out of nowhere, and attacked her.
“I took one stroke in the water, the shark just came out of the water, hit me,” she says in REELZ’s new docuseries Shark Terror: The Real Jaws.
“The shark rolled onto its side, its whole pectoral fin came out and it’s looking like an elephant ear, it was huge.”
Halavais was just a teen when the incident occurred, and she barely remembers her reaction to the unexpected confrontation with the predator.
“I was just pushing myself away from it, almost feeling like I was pushing down on it. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t do anything,” she says.
The shark let go, but Halavais was left bleeding and still in danger. She screamed in pain, attracting the attention of her boyfriend and fellow surfers.
“I reached my hand out and the next thing I remember I was coming up from underneath the water. They made a circle around me and we all paddled in together,” she recalls.
Back on shore, Halavais saw the severity of her wound.
“I tried to put my feet down and my whole leg just gave out. And before I could fall they grabbed me and pulled me out the beach,” she says.
The shark bit deep into her right leg: from her calf, all the way up to her thigh. Based on the bite diameter and the teeth marks on Halavais’s surf board, experts estimated the shark was between 18 and 19 feet and weighed more than two tons.
Shark Terror: The Real Jaws airs Sunday, July 21 at 9 ET/ PT on REELZ.