Overcoming Fear: SWA Instructor Megan Halavais Shares Her Shark Attack Story

“Sometimes I forget it even happened. You know, I’m like, oh yeah, remember that moment that I almost got eaten by a dinosaur?”

One sunny, beautiful morning in Bodega Bay, California, Megan Halavais was bitten by a 17 ft. Great White Shark. In this week’s episode of Second Breakfast, you’ll hear a story from one of our very own SWA instructors of a surf session that turned her life upside down. She recalls each moment of that fateful day and opens up about her recovery and transition back into surfing after the accident, including how she overcame fear and panic attacks in the water. She looks back on the attack as a pivotal moment in her life, an experience that has challenged her to push her limits and strive to always be “the maker of her own destiny,” in and out of the water. Her inspiring story challenges listeners to reflect on their own experiences with fear, inviting us to persevere and overcome some of life’s biggest hurdles.


“I was sitting on my board and I just got this terrible feeling, this eerie feeling that I almost describe as heat in my tailbone.”

“I took one paddle and I just got hit from behind. And … my body immediately shut off and I went into shock and this feeling of euphoria… It felt like getting hit by a car in the water. I just got hit so hard, and everything slowed down. It’s so funny because it is like how they make it seem in the movies where you feel your breath and everything is slow and quiet and kind of calming and nice in a way. I remember turning, laying on my board and turning to look and there’s just this huge dorsal fin right at my toes and this big body and water just churning around it.”

“When you have a shark attack experience, you get assigned a researcher and they’re trying to figure out why sharks attack humans. And so they ask you all these questions and then they look at it all – they look at your wetsuit, your board. My leash was a big thing for them to figure out how it was that I was dragged down…My leash has all these gridded teeth marks in it, and then just snapped right at the base.”

“I say this to Amigas all the time, you are the commander of your own destiny. And you have the power to change anything in your life. And so whether it be fear for a certain situation, your job, or whatever it is, just figure out what matters and don’t let fear stop you from doing it.”

Listen now on Apple Podcasts or Spotify!