The Margaret River-based surfer who made international headlines last week for “saving his own life” has for the first time detailed his astonishing story of survival. Ballina, NSW man Jack Frost, 24, showed incredible presence of mind when surfing alone last Monday, July 24, at the popular Margaret River break known as Boat Ramps. A great white estimated to be at least 3.5 metres came from beneath him without warning, pitching the young carpenter into a fight for his life. “It’s just come from straight up beneath me,” the surfer said. “It hit me with such force it knocked me off the board and I did a backflip.” In that moment, Jack watched in horror as the great white seized his board and thrashed in the water, leaving a huge chunk in the foam leaving the young surfer in no doubt about what he faced. Even more incredibly, Jack knew he was dead in the water unless he went on the attack. “I ended up getting up on its back and hitting it in the back of the head,” he said. “It was so close. It was either swim away or let it do its thing. “I’m thinking, if I don’t show it I’m a contender, it’s just going to nail me again.” The pair tussled in the water for just moments – all while Jack’s wound was bleeding into the water around him. “I thought I’d rip its nose back, and then I got on its back and thought, ‘F---, there’s no way I’m putting my hand near that mouth,” he said. Even retelling his experience, Jack remained calm and reflective on his brush with death. That same presence of mind gave him the ability to control his breathing in the torturous paddle to shore atop his damaged board, unable to see the ocean predator in the murky green water or whether it was giving chase. It was only when he neared the shore that Jack used the intact leg rope from his board to tourniquet his wound, which later required 18 stitches. “I got super lucky there was no nerve or tendon damage,” he said. The surfer only spoke to the Times because he wanted to thank those who came to his aid, including a nurse who happened to be nearby as well as a local woman who drove him to the hospital. “They said ‘I’ll call you an ambulance’ and I’m like, ‘F---, I’ve got no money’,” he laughed. “I told her you could take my car because I don’t want to get blood in your car and she said ‘Don’t be stupid’.” Jack’s partner Lolly Mann, a school teacher from Sydney, said she was in awe at her boyfriend’s steely demeanour in a test few would survive. “The way he handled himself – being him is why he’s here right now,” she said. “It’s not every day you get the chance to save yourself. “It takes a special kind of person. Jack’s very calm and very strong as a person. It’s impressive.” Another factor in Jack’s favour was not just years of intense sports like mountain biking and diving, but that his love of surfing alone had prepared him for a worst-case scenario. “I’ve always thought ‘What would I do if I had to get myself in’,” he said. “With diving, you have to keep yourself pretty calm. I was taking nice deep breaths to control it and just get in to shore.” Doctors have advised Jack he will make a full recovery, though it could be several months before he could get back on his board. He wasn’t deterred by the incident and plans travelling with his partner up north in coming weeks.