'I didn't see it coming': NSW surfer recounts brutal shark attack
There was no hint of danger when surfer Brett Connellan stepped into the water seven years ago, on one fateful evening in Kiama on New South Wales' south coast.
Connellan's paddle in the ocean off Bombo Beach would almost end up costing his life, when a shark came out of nowhere and chomped down on his leg.
"A lot of people ask me – did you see it coming?" Connellan said on Weekend Today.
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"Could you see the fin coming through the water? I say sharks are incredibly good at what they do. I didn't see it coming.
"For how quick the moment was, it was also so slow," he added.
The Aussie surfer is telling his extraordinary story of survival and recovery in a gripping new documentary on Stan called 'Attacking Life'.
The documentary recounts the frantic scenes after the savage attack, when Connellan's friend Joel Trist brought him to shore on his surfboard.
Trist's now-wife Agie, a nurse, used the leg rope from his surfboard as a tourniquet to stop his blood loss.
"There was a lot of luck on the beach and that extended to the recovery having the right people around me the whole way through," Connellan said.
"It's a bit unknown when you lose three-quarter of your left quad and we didn't know what the long- term effects would be."
Connellan was told he may never walk again after suffering critical injuries to his leg.
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Surgeons operating on Connellan used his lateral muscle to cover his exposed bone, ensuring he would not need an amputation.
With grit and determination, Connellan slowly defied the odds, re-learning to walk with his injuries. Incredibly, he is now back in the water.
Connellan said his love of surfing made it inevitable that he would return to the ocean.
"For me, the harder thing about going back in the water was an unknown of what I was going to surf like," he said.
"Surfing was a big part of my life and I didn't know what that end goal was going to look like and what that would mean for me.
"It's not something that you can give up. It's not to much about chasing the dream of becoming about chasing the dream of becoming a professional surfer, I do it more because I love it now."
Connellan said he hoped his documentary, which has been three years in the making, will help inspire others to overcome challenges in their own lives.
"For me, I am just a regular person that something irregular happened to," he said.
"We will have our own version of a shark attack and I want to say if my story can get people to look at their own experiences in a different way and they can use themselves as an inspiration when they encounter a hurdle in life, that would be the goal for me."
Nine Entertainment Co (the publisher of this website) owns and operates the streaming service Stan.
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