Her husband Mark Rapley came to the rescue, jumping on the shark and punching it repeatedly until it let her go before he placed her on his board and rushed to shore where bystanders rendered assistance until emergency services arrived.
“The shark was latched on to her leg. I just jumped into the water,” he told the media, visibly shaken by the incident.
Mr Rapley said the shark was a “ball of muscle” as he punched down on it numerous times before it released its grip.
The shark attack happened at Shelly Beach about 9.30am Saturday.
Witness Jed Toohey said Mr Rapley put his life at risk to save his partner.
“If he hadn’t put his own life at risk, [the shark] would have been strong enough to take her out to sea.”
Ms Doyle was later flown to Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital where she underwent surgery.
She is recovering and in a stable condition on Sunday.
NSW Police said she was bitten on the right calf and the back of her thigh.
Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steve Pearce said Mr Rapley’s actions were a “tremendous act of bravery”.
Hearing Mark Rapley’s story in the above video is very emotional. You can hear the love in his voice. He almost breaks down crying when he talks about “The mother of your child, your support… everything… that’s who you are, you just react.”
It was at that point that he jumped on top of the shark and started punching the white pointer in the eye.
I like to think I would have done the same. That, of course, is the million-dollar question. I think most men would fight for their wife in this way.
John Eldredge believes the same, as this is one of his very famous quotes:
“Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.”
Certainly, Mark Rapley’s fight to save the life of his wife from the jaws of the shark is the living embodiment of John Eldredge’s words.
As I was writing this, I decided to ask my wife if she felt I fought for her. Sadly, her answer was NO. I asked about the times when I take her to a marriage retreat or away for a restful and romantic weekend. Even when I reminded her about those mighty acts of valour, she was unimpressed.
I am loathe to tell you this, as I want you to think that I have it all together, but it would seem I am an imperfect husband, just like you.
I found Mark Rapley’s story to be incredibly inspiring, and have been giving this article a great deal of thought. I honestly thought that my wife would have said yes to my question: would I fight for her?
As I reflected about it, I realised that in part she was right. I am at times too hesitant and perhaps too predictable. Maybe the word I am searching for is boring, but I hate to admit it.
Another thought that came to me was I had lost the PR battle with my wife. Sometimes one has to point out the obvious.
Then again, I had to agree that the biggest problem in marriage is that we can both take each other for granted.
We can easily forget the wisdom of that wise Frenchman, Andre Maurois:
“A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day.”
So at this point, I realised I had to throw caution to the wind and simply apologise to my wife for my lack of fighting for her — to repledge my troth, so to speak.
Without any further hesitation, I went into the kitchen and got down on one knee. My wife was washing dishes, so I took her hand and asked her forgiveness for not fighting for her more.
I promised her I would fight for her more in the future, but I also made a mental note that I would immediately cancel our planned surfing holiday to Port Macquarie.
I just feel that Mark Rapley might still have an edge on me when it comes to fighting for his wife. I don’t feel it’s time to go into competition with him just yet!
You are probably a much better husband than me. One who is right up there with Mark Rapley.
Whatever the case, ask the question of your wife: How can I fight for you more? It can only help your marriage!
Yours for Fighting for Your Wife,
PS: Don’t forget next Sunday is Father’s Day. Dads4Kids will be presenting our new Community Service Announcements. Go to our YouTube channel to see some of the previous years’ CSAs and interviews with the dads who were in them.
Warwick Marsh has been married to Alison Marsh since 1975; they have five children and nine grandchildren, and he and his wife live in Wollongong in NSW, Australia. He is a family and faith advocate, social reformer, musician, TV producer, writer and public speaker.
Warwick is a leader in the Men’s and Family Movement, and he is well-known in Australia for his advocacy for children, marriage, manhood, family, fatherhood and faith. Warwick is passionate to encourage men to be great fathers and to know the greatest Father of all. The Father in Whom “there is no shadow of turning.”
The Fatherhood Foundation Incorporated trading as Dads4Kids is a Harm Prevention Charity listed under Subdivision 30_EA of the Australian Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 with Tax Deductible Status (DGR) for donations
Dads4Kids – Building Men. Growing Fathers. Changing Generations.