Shark Stories

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yorkessurfer started the topic in Monday, 29 Oct 2012 at 12:11am

A few interesting stories on shark attacks and near misses on the Shark Shield report so I thought I would start this thread. Don't want to trivialize the subject as people have had their lives taken or changed forever by what can happen. I thought it might serve as an educational purpose by hearing others experiences so we may all learn from them and hopefully avoid it happening to us.

One of them was a mate of mine named Hazey.
He had been surfing at Castles, a notoriously sharky wave in the bay at Cactus.
Several hundred metres offshore the wave breaks before reforming into Inside Castles making a long left with several sections. The wave has been the scene of several attacks and near misses over the years including the local known as "Sharkbait" who had been attacked more than once.
Gerry Lopez is another who came very close to being attacked out there and vowed to never surf Cactus again after his near miss.
Well Hazey was surfing out the back with another bloke named Steve when out of the blue he was launched into the air still on his board by a huge force from below.
A shark had rammed him with a direct hit straight up into the air! In a moment it was gone but soon returned to the stunned Hazey and started biting him and his board. Hazey instinctively put his arms out to protect himself but both his arms ended up in its mouth. As the jaws closed down his arms could have easily been severed, but several teeth on the sharks lower jaw had become dislodged and imbedded in the board leaving his upper arms with massive injuries, but the vital inner arms where major arteries run were not majorly damaged. This probably saved his life.
By this time Steve had reacted and in a rush of adrenalin and pure ballsy courage he threw himself onto the sharks back and started gouging at the sharks eyeballs, eventually feeling one pop and the shark departed.
Steve got the two surfboards together and got himself and Hazey on and started the long paddle to shore.
Then they were both thrown into the air as the shark rammed them a third time before disappearing again. They continued to make their way closer to shore and the shark nudged them again. Steve told me he thought he really must of pissed it off when he popped its eye.
Finally they we're just a metre from shore when the shark made its fifth and final appearance. It beelined towards them and the shore while they stood in waist deep water with their boards. The sharks mouth was just rapidly opening and closing like one of those wind up sets of false teeth. The boys separated and put their hands on either side of it's body and held it on a 90 degree angle to the beach as they made the final steps to the safety of the sand.
Hazey was rushed to Ceduna hospital and then flown to Adelaide for micro surgery on his shredded arms.
Steve ended up receiving a bravery award and they both sold their story to 60 minutes and made $50,000 each out of it!
It was quite a story!

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Monday, 29 Oct 2012 at 6:32am

Jeez, you've set the bar a little high YP. No-one's going to be able to top that story!

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mr-mysto commented Monday, 29 Oct 2012 at 12:01pm

In march this year I did a trip for 3 weeks from Lincoln to the dog fence scoring great waves the whole trip. Came back to Port Elliot surfed Bradfords and got nailed by a bronzy at 630 in the morning. Today I made my return to the water after 7 months. Many sleepless nights and painful days from the crush injury are now last me.... time to get the amp back. Yew

Mr Mysto

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scoopmaster commented Monday, 29 Oct 2012 at 2:38pm

I've only had two definite sightings while bodyboarding, one at shellharbour and one at gerringong. Each time i could see the dorsal and tail fins and as they were no more than a metre apart = shark smaller than five foot long so i didn't bother to leave the water - as the water was clear on both occasions.
Another time i was at sussex inlet and it was only myself and a friend out, we were about 20 metres apart and something swam between us, it was big enough to make small bow waves each side of it and despite looking around for a while we didn't see any dolphins. After a nervous laugh we decided to head in on that occasion.

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scoopmaster commented Monday, 29 Oct 2012 at 3:39pm

then there was another time i was sitting well out the back at a jervis bay reefbreak when something bumped into my leg. As jervis bay is generally flat any time there is surf the water is absolutely filthy and churned up so other than getting a brief glimpse of something dark brown i could only guess it may have been either a brown groper, a dogshark or an eel -certainly wasn't a dangerous specie of shark as it was too dark a brown colour.

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grufnut commented Monday, 29 Oct 2012 at 3:45pm

Good that your still with us and good on you for going back in mr mysto, heavy shit! is bradfords the sucky little right at the end of the rocks in pt elliot there? if you don't mind me asking how big do you reckon the thing was and what sort of injuries?

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thermalben commented Monday, 29 Oct 2012 at 4:24pm

Spotted the large dorsal fin of a big bitey just twenty or thirty metres away from me, while surf Brighton Jetty sometime around 1990, during a three foot stormy (I'd taken the day off school to surf, and consequently had it all to myself).

Absolutely shit myself as I paddled in - two guys from another school were in the carpark and we ran up on to the jetty, watching it for ten minutes as it swam through the gutters. The shark was swimming parallel to the beach, probably just following fish, but it seemed like a huge beast of a thing at the time. A bodyboarder apparently had his fin bitten a few days earlier too, which made it all the more freaky.

I then called up SA-FM the following morning to alert the news desk, who then convinced me to do a small interview on air - in which I promptly made a dick of myself, rambling with dinner-plate-sized eyes about how big the shark could have been.

I'm not sure how big it was, however the local newspapers had regularly reported a couple of white pointers between Marino and Semaphore over the preceding week, one of which was reportedly in the 4-5m range (!).

Seen a bunch of smaller sharks over the years but that was probably the closest I ever got. And ironically, of all places it was at a metropolitan Adelaide beach that almost never gets surf!

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turns commented Monday, 29 Oct 2012 at 8:16pm

Was out at Grandma's a few years ago with only a few of out, so it was a long lonely paddle back to the take-off.

It was quite calm and glassy, and I was paddling back up the line after a long one. I distinctly remember looking down and could see the green/black mottled bottom quite clearly. A big black silhouette slowly passed beneath me, and I put a couple pressuries in the deck where my thumbs squeezed into the glass in a sort of muscle freeze. (Happens like that sometimes round here!)

Then looking up the line, there would have been at least thirty dolphins hugging the rocks making a B-Line straight for me coming down from the point. I didn't think much of it at the time, and just said to myself "that was a fucken big dolphin". I kept on surfing for a while and got a few more.

Later, kicking back on the couch after a couple hot ones,it occurred to me that the shape passed under me in a smooth quiet glide, and the dolphins reached me maybe half a minute later, jumping out of the water in a frantic fashion, and they too kept on going not even pulling up for a play.

The incident sticks in my mind and each time I recollect I just keep thinking that it had to have been...

Apparently the dolphins were behaving similarly that fatal Spring morning up at Cacky too.

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goofyfoot commented Monday, 29 Oct 2012 at 8:47pm

@ turns, that just gave me goosebumps..

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mundies commented Monday, 29 Oct 2012 at 8:55pm

Yorkessurfer, I was surfing Castles with Worm and Haysey the day before they were attacked and left the night before. Was surfing round Pt Sinclair way the day before the NZ guy on his honeymoon got killed too and left the night before. For a while there my mates were watching me on west coast surf trips to see when I'd leave to make sure they weren't in the water the next day.

mundies

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floyd commented Monday, 29 Oct 2012 at 9:16pm

YS, terrifying story.

There are semi regular shark sightings on the coast I surf. There is a seal colony not too far away so its thought there is pretty much a permanent population of large sharks. The local abalone divers tell stories that make your blood go cold including ones where they get this sudden sense of fear only to have the presence of a large shark confirmed when they investigate. They all believe in that 6th sense thing, swear by it. They earn every dollar.

My own experience .... Many years ago a big one swam past while a mate and I where surfing an outer reef. Its dorsal fin looked to be well over a foot out of the water. We didn't hang around. A couple years ago I came across two small sharks in knee deep water while walking over a reef before first light. This occurred a few weeks before at the same place the water in front off me lit up with 100s of fish breaking the surface in panic. I never found out why.

Then at the same place/reef again around first light I had caught a couple of waves when I noticed 2 guys paddling out but then they stopped and waited for maybe 10 minutes way inside while I caught a couple more waves. When they paddled out they asked me what was in the water with me? in fact they said they saw this shape in waves I was riding. Didn't see it and I have no idea what it was.

So I guess that leads to another chilling thought, we don't see every shark, dolphin or seal we share the water with.

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velocityjohnno commented Monday, 29 Oct 2012 at 11:33pm

Oh man YS what a tale, I've ceased to function.

A few anecdotes here

Mum's a QLD lass and grew up on a cane farm on a river. She'd see tiger sharks cruising by in the brown water where they would swim. Taking a boat out of the local harbour as a girl, her dad told her to "lift your arm!" out of the water just before a shark lunged at it...
So she tells me "Son, never surf at dawn, never at dusk, and never at the rivermouth." So it's dusk and I'm out on the rivermouth when up pops this thing with stripes. Ok, time to go in and Mum knows best after all.
As a WA lad I noticed them becoming more prevalent in the late 90's. When the ski was chomped in 1997 I had a day off and a paddle with a mate on the local reefs. We saw a heap of cameras and went out anyway, thinking we'd get interviewed for our opinions on parking meters or the like. We avoided them and paddled out, after over an hour another surfer joined us and said, "Hey there was an attack before," to which we replied "Ah, yeah right!" So I made the TV news.
Wedge was always special. One day a mate and I were out on a beachy part breaking a little further out when I swear I saw something glide and turn in a wave, revealing white. It wasn't small. One fella we knew was on an outer reef and spotted two dolphin's fins in the water, big one then small one following. A hideous second later he realised that the smaller fin, way back, was actually the tail fin of something Very Large.
And why why why did I stay out so long at another spot after seeing the seals swim up the point all close together and nervous, then get scotched on the rocks paddling out and sit bleeding further out than anyone else? Years later a fatal attack in the area and I'm informed that the area is somewhat of a highway for the things...
Another location DS, I won't name, a mate had flu and was stuck up on the hill in the 4x4. We surfed racy righthanders for a couple of hours, heavy current, got quite tired and I got this black, black feeling paddling back out by myself. Back up at the car, mate says "Hey did you see that school of bronzies just out past you?" Thanks for mentioning it!
Out alone in a bay DS. One bloke on the other side, me alone on this side. Boat comes in and I say to myself "I bet there's a shark behind that, don't worry it'll go for him,". Three waves later I kick off and have a dorsal coming straight at me. (This is a location someone was later killed at). OK, I can't gauge the size accurately as its coming straight on. It's not a dolphin as the tail fin is going side-to-side. My mind just stops and my body takes over. It's quite a way in and so I just turn and head for shore at a fast speed, not splashing much but putting quite a bit of effort into the strokes. Dorsal behind me disappears. I reckon, years later, what happened is it went under me, turned kind of side on, and eyed me off - a "drive by". I didn't wait to find out what its intentions were but the last 20 metres to shore were an absolute mind snap.
My niece worked on pearl farms out on the islands and would always remind me of the smell of bait from the pots in the water...
Best story is the little bro is a genius fisherman and does an island charter off the NW. They have a swim in the anchorage after each day's fishing. Skipper of charter watches on. When bro asks him "Why don't you have a swim mate?" he replies "I'll show you why," and throws a 5ft mackeral carcass into the water beside the boat. Soon enough, a cod the size of a dinghy comes up and takes it in one!
So yeah there is certainly more in the water than we see!

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mrsbradpitt commented Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012 at 12:19am

sounds like a tall story to me

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zenagain commented Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012 at 12:53am

Can't top Yorkes story and been pretty lucky in the shark department. Only seen a handful in over 30 years.

The only one of note was surfing at Tallows in Byron years ago. Stinking hot day, mid-Feb, crystal clear blue water, about noon.

Sitting out the back and we saw it, big black shadow, maybe 10-12ft long cruise between us and the rocks to the north. Made a big sweep around us and came in behind, between us and the beach. It paused for a moment and then just rushed at my mate about 20 metres from me. I thought I was going to witness a full blown attack but it just passed underneath him and kept going.

We all just went 'fuck' and went for it back to the beach. The paddle accross the inshore gutter took an eternity.

We sat on the sand, nervously talking about it, after an hour or so watching good empty waves, we paddled back out and had a great sesh.

A few years back, surfed Waddy Pt. on Fraser Island alone, breezy side-shore, murky water, lots of bait fish and the sun going down. Got a couple of waves and a chill came over me. Hard to describe but it just didn't feel right. Didn't see anything but it just felt eery. One of the very few times I've ever paddled in.

Also, surfed North point at Moreton Is. about 2 weeks before that bloke was taken in the same spot in the 90's. I heard that the crew watched him being dragged around for about 20 minutes and all they recovered in the end was his torso and one arm. Poor bastard. Hope he's at rest.

Ignorance is Zen

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barley commented Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012 at 11:15am

Me and a mate were surfing a long long beach down our way when this helicopter comes from over the land and flys up and down the coast, not that unusual, my mate had just caught a wave in when the chopper comes back and hovers about 50ft above me. Next thing I see this guy hanging out the water pointing at me and yelling something i couldn't realy here. so I start to paddle in and the chopper takes off. After it has started leaving I hear my mate yelling at me shark, shark!! so I paddle like fuck the last 20mtrs or so and I stand in the shore turn around and about a 10ftr cruises exactly where I was just sitting.. Holy shit we just ran up the beach freakn' out. I think it was just a bronzy but still do some damage!!

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rushy commented Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012 at 12:16pm

I was kayaking at Fingal Bay, near Nelsons Bay, alone and just cruising towards the light house entrance. Saw a grey sleek shape ghosting me about 3 metres away. First thought was a dolphin as there's lots up there. Didn't see the head but when the tail came out of the water it was a vertical cresent shape. My kayak is 5.8 metres, and this was at least 2/3rds the length (4 metres?).

There was a small chop on the water and the kayak was slapping through it - maybe that's what attracted it. I was about a kilometre off shore, against the cliffs - nowhere to go, so I sat there, very still, and prayed. Waited 10 minutes then slowly turned around and beached up on the sand bar. Waited another hour before heading home.

Nature's great - especially on the Discovery Channel!

If it's free, it's for me!

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toneranger commented Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012 at 1:03pm

Just about to paddle out on an overcast,rainy,offshore day at goolwa with my mate when two guys on the beach said they been chased out of the water by bronzies in the gutters.Back to car,drive down to Keyholes and start session again.Five minutes into the session a large bronzie comes up about five meters away and eyeballs me.I scream at my mate and we paddle in pronto.AS We're getting changed in the carpark,2 guys rock up and start to get changed.I tolded them about said shark and they said they'd take there chances anyway.We got changed and wandered up the dune for a gander,only to see them running back up the beach,boards under arms.Seems as they we're about waste deep the thing knifed thru the middle of them.We all ended up surfing Middleton down further where Superbank was krankin'.It's weird,we're scared shitless of them but we keep going back

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fraser-gordon commented Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012 at 1:49pm

I was shown a video of Waits point where a booger gets pitched out of the lip with a huge white lurking in the face of the wave totally oblivious of its presence turns and paddles back out with all the rest of the crew out the back.The story goes the lads went back to check the footage of the days surf and stumbled across the footage of the shark and booger they surfed all day and didnt see a thing .The beast could of opened its mouth and the booger could of dived right in without touching the sides the ultimate stealth.

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gdh commented Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012 at 2:36pm

I grew up in Albany, south coast of WA, where I’d heard of a few sightings and near misses. I only ever saw bronzies and huge whales in the water as a grom, but the old whaling station round the back of town near bald head was notorious for tales about huge whites coming in close for years after the place closed down thinking they were in for a free feed. Anyways in the late 90s a few lads were surfing Sand Patch (not too far from the site of the old whaling station), it was a crystal clear day with a neat little swell running. Now get this, a couple of blokes at the top of the stairs began yelling and whistling in the direction of the lads in the water. Two huge noahs (maybe 4 -6m) were literally cruising past out the back. The lads in the water didn't hear anything (it's actually a monster set of stairs from the car park to the water) but it didn’t matter, the massive fish kept on their merry way just cruising down the beach. I always thought they were solo creatures?!! It got me thinking that they’re probably much closer to us on a regular basis than we might think. It must have been only a few years later that some poor bugger was attacked at mids just near the surf club by a great white. Which is interesting as that’s the only place I’ve ever seen huge salmon jumping out of the water onto the rocks to escape something much larger. If only fishing was always that easy eh?!

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old-dog commented Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012 at 6:26pm

I was over at Cactus in the 70's and had just come in from Cunz having been a bit spooked by the ever present shadows lurking in the depths as you sat on the edge of the drop off when two Vicco. lads who were camped at Hep city came waltzing towards me with spear guns and goggles. They said they were going to snorkel around the point to Witzigs and spear some fish for tea.I told them they were crazy but they laughed and said they had been spearfishing back home for years and never even seen a gummy.Five mins. later they were scrambling back across the reef squealing like 12 year old girls at a Garry Glitter after-party looking visibly shaken,they hadn't even got half way out to Cunz when confronted with "hundreds" of Bronzies cutting through a school of salmon.They shat themselves and of course being typical Vicco big city lady-boys they yelled shark cutting short the sessions of the crew out the back and ruining the day for everyone.Last I saw of them they were packing up and muttering something about never eating Flake again.

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uplift commented Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 at 1:09am

Gidday, its not always sharks. I've had a few bumps, drivebye's etc, and times when onlookers have seen sharks checking me out, that I haven't seen. But easily the heaviest thing that's happened to me was surfing blacks on a beautiful day alone, and a tiny baby seal starts being really, really playfull and inquisitive, grabbing my leggy and stuff. The mother was pretty big, much bigger than a normal seal, and stressing a bit, trying to push the little seal away and keep it away, to no avail. Out of nowhere this absolutely huge black thing flies up out of the water right along side me, and it turns out to be an absolutely humongous, bull seal that rises right up in my face, with a gigantic square head and unbelievable teeth bared. It looked like a gigantic rotty or something, huge really square head. Its face was like inches from mine, hissing and gesturing in my face, full on agro sticking its bared teeth straight at me, and posturing full on, right in my face, stinking breath. I just instinctively knew that if I even looked at it slightly, it really wanted to get into it, and all I could do was look down, and be super still and submissive. It kept it up from all angles for ages, and heaps of times I thought this is it, its chomping my face off for sure. It would have bitten my head off, no worries. Finally it is satisfied there's no threat from me, and backs away, swimming around slowly. The f###ing little thing is still buzzing around with the mother, and I'm praying for it to just piss off. I started padding really slowly through the channel, and the bull is popping up everywhere, all the way in. When I hit the beach, I was frothing, heart pounding, so relieved and the thing is still checking me out. My dog has bolted down the cliff carrying on like an idiot, and the seal is straight on the beach, and at it. F###ing surf dogs! I'm half way up the cliff screaming at him to come, before he gets hammered, and he eventually does, but not before a few ludicrous dashes back onto the beach. I tried to look up what it was, and maybe a big fur seal, but don't really know. In the end having and watching the dogs do their thing here probably saved me, because I have seen what they do to grovel out of trouble when they genuinely know the party's over. Once we had a leopard seal hanging around for a few weeks, and that was interesting too, but nothing like that. Amasing things happen surfing in remote areas.

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jeff-schmucker commented Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 at 8:44am

i have never seen a pointer in the surf but i saw a massive female yesty arvo a mile from razors...".dont go down to the woods today"
she was madder than a cut snake too!!

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ross-a commented Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 at 9:18am

Hey GDH, I saw a real big one off the stairs last year too. Got a photo of it cruising behind the break. Surf was pumping too, but not that pumping...

Shmucko, I can't believe you haven't seen one in the surf?

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manucaminero-com commented Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 at 12:36pm

Hi everyone. I´ve been surfing almost all over Australia for the last two years. In 5 states. But if i´ve to be honest, the only place that i shited myself was in Castles. Cactus beach is with out any doubt the scariest place in Australia. Is such an strong feeling to surf there. For me most shoking was the first time you get into the water. The water is exactly as National Geographic "White pointers" documentaries. These kind of green, and not so clear... Pfff. We didn´t see any shark, but is the kind of place you know there are around... By the way, Castels seems to be a schooly-shark.
Definitly one of the best waves in Oz, but probably the most scary.

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manucaminero-com commented Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 at 12:40pm

Also the deep channel to get into the Granities is crazy!
And i remember once we were around Port Lincoln, a famous australian shell seeker called Peter Stephen Clarkson was taken by two white pointers in P. Lincoln. Was quite crazy, not many people noticed about that, even if he was very famous. So sad.

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sfletch commented Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 at 1:15pm

I'm from sth Oz and must be 30 yrs ago, yep gettin on but still out there,we were surfing cliffs on the south coast, about 300 yrds out which it what you had to do to get an unbroken wave out there.It was quite a big glassy swell and I took one late and went over the falls.Lefties weren't much chop back then and miss board got dragged , leash broke and my board carried on towards the beach leaving me a200yrd swim in. So I'm side stoking looking to body surf one in and as a wave jutted up out the back I saw over

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sfletch commented Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 at 1:25pm

I'm from sth Oz and must be 30 yrs ago, yep gettin on but still out there,we were surfing cliffs on the south coast, about 300 yrds out which it what you had to do to get an unbroken wave out there.It was quite a big glassy swell and I took one late and went over the falls.Legropes weren't much chop back then and my board got dragged , leash broke and my board carried on towards the beach leaving me a200yrd swim in. So I'm side stoking looking to body surf one in and as a wave jutted up out the back I saw over 15 or so largish hammer heads swimming past in the face of the wave.Now I was told never panic but that swim in was the most terrifying 10 to 15 mins of my life.Luckily they were just cruisin past.Being from sth Oz I've had plenty of other sightings but that one stuck with me.

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shralpz commented Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 at 1:38pm

Yorkesurfer & SA crew will like this. I was squidding on stenhouse jetty one onshore day, it's clear glass in there during SW'ers and when we were younger we'd jump off the jetty all day in summer. Anyway I'm fishing about halfway along on the north side, it's maybe 10ft deep over weed and a huge black monster at least 12-15ft and 5ft wide cruises along the pylons from the shore end! The fin tips were below the surface and I was stunned to see that it did not leave a ripple or any swirls or anything at all on the surface that would have given it away. In fact you could hardly see it unless it was right under you then it was plain as day.
I alerted some guys fishing at the far end and they freaked when they saw it pass, one packed up and got the hell off the jetty he was so scared! I guess it just cruised on around the corner towards Chi's after that. I'm still amazed at how lucky I've been after all the hours spent patiently waiting for bombs in SA, whitey must cruise past all the time.

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antandcharmi commented Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 at 2:18pm

I'm intrigued by this creepy feeling people say they get... like "black, black feeling", a persistent nudge that makes them paddle in occasionally. I've surfed for decades in all the various circumstances, brown water, dawn, dusk, with fish, or near a seal island in sharky waters, and just a few times in good clear water or bad I've had this totally inexplicable uneasiness settle over me and wouldn't leave. It's uncanny. I'm not a nervous guy. On a crowded, frustrating day with one guy to every square meter, when the helicopter has come over and told us all to get out, I have stayed in the water all by myself just for sheer relief at having the waves. Yet on these few other days, this creepy, "black, black" feeling just grows so strong. One sunny day in clear warm water and a clean 6 foot reef break, surfing by myself, I ignored it and ignored it and finally the feeling got so bad it almost was like a voice saying, "If you don't get out NOW I won't be responsible for you." I just had to get out.

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antandcharmi commented Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 at 2:40pm

I've been bumped in murky water but the scariest time for me might not even have been a shark. I was on my own on the South African West coast at a beach break in a place called Lambert's Bay. It was dusk, the sun was sitting on the horizon and the water was a clear green black. 6-8' sets were rolling in so fast it was hard to get a lull. I pick the best chance and paddle to find that it is a great lull. Only 4-6' waves to get through. As I get out, I paddle over a few more 3-4' swells, sit up, and a few more pass by, then, nothing. The swell has just gone. Entirely. I look back and see tiny, tiny 1' ripples splopping onto the beach about 300-400 yards in. Where I am, the sea has become a great quiet sleeping beast, gently rising and falling slightly, the water oily calm, deep and dark. I resist thoughts of being shark bait, and lie down to get my feet closer to the board, leaning on my hands, staring at the setting sun golding the green water in front of me. After about 10 minutes, a rustling, water-streaming something rises up a few meters in front of me, and keeps rising, sounding just like a periscope with the water rushing off it... I stare, it's a long, tall, tall, black fin, directly edge on to me, still rising, and I'm watching the water start to run dry from the top of it, still rushing down the middle of it, it's maybe 2 foot above the water as it slowly pauses in its rise, and then sinks down again, slowly moving closer towards me. It must have submerged only about 6' in front of me, but though I scanned left and right into the dark green water around me, I couldn't see a thing. I had lifted my feet out the water and I lay there like a poor petrified statue for about 10 minutes while the sun went down, lol. Then I tried dipping my hand in the water once to start to turn around... and again a minute later... slowly my confidence grew until I was quietly paddling in, but a little faster with every 50 yards, until near the end all the tension broke loose and I was paddling as fast and cleanly as I could! Was it a shark? I can't think what else it could have been, but for me, it sure felt like one!

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reecen commented Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 at 3:10pm

Some good stories out there.
The one that freaked me out the most was years ago surfing a very remote reef that is renowned for its Noahs of pretty much every variety.
We had downed tools early in the day as we knew the surf was going to be cooking, and as we arrived it was a sight to behold perfect waves reeling down the reef with not a soul in sight, we couldnt drop the anchor and get into it quick enough.
Two of us traded awesome waves all day in beautifull sunshine, when another boat rocked up in the late arvo. We were chatting away in the line up and it had started to get overcast as the sun slowly sank, the boys started telling us how the night before they had been fishing in a glass bottom dinghy and couldnt get the snapper in before they were sharked so as they were reeling one in they shone the light through the dinghy only to see a 44 gallon drum sized tigers head coming straight up from below. They reckon the shark then started circling the dinghy and bumping them around tasting the outboard as they tried bashing it in the head with fishing rod butts to get it to go away.
Anyway not 30 seconds after i had told them to shut up with the shark stories a MASSIVE tiger shark surfaced right in between us, and slowly submerged heading up the reef where one other fella was sitting about 300m away by himself.
Needles to say everyones legs were up around their chins and their was a fair bit of yelling to our mate who couldnt hear us.
Pretty soon after the sun was pretty much gone and the water was that horrible inky black colour and the light was fading fast, the other boys who had arrived were lucky and had their boat on the other side of an island so could just catch a wave in, me and my mate had to do a 300m paddle across water that goes from 2m to 80m deep in the space of about 100m.
Needless to say i spent the whole paddle trying to shut out the jaws music playing on loop in my head, half way through the paddle to the boat though i started to get really freaked out when i could see a whole heap of gulls flying around the back of the boat and then started seeing snapper carcasses flying into the water.
Turns out my retard farmer friend that was working with us had decided to catch snapper while we were surfing and then fillet them and chuck them overboard as he caught them. by the time i got on the boat i was mentally exhausted from fear and so wild with rage that i thought i was going to kill my mate. Beers tasted pretty good once we settled down though.

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bokaus commented Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 at 5:13pm

Whilst out at Uluwatu on 28th August this year I saw a fin pop out the water about 20feet away and watched it dip back down slowly. If I could estimate this thing...it was 4metres + and most likely a Tiger (popular in Bali I hear) patrolling along the reef that day.

After spotting it surface I looked at another guy in the line up and saw his face, he was white as a ghost! We both knew what it was but out of 8 or so surfers we were the only two that had seen it. He clocked it from the rear and slightly side-on whereas I had seen it from directly behind. He said it wasnt curved like a dolphin, adamant that it was a shark. Given this fin was at least a foot from the surface and didn't roll down (as dolphins do) as it descended, we both ruled this out as a dolphin. It didnt surface again for the next 10minutes. Meanwhile this guy (Californian in his mid 40s) is paddling around in circles not knowing what to do, spooking all the other surfers in the water.

Next minute, this guy decides to catch the next bomb set in. Not realising how much water was moving around (Ulus is not for the inexperienced) he gunned it on the first wave that pushed through. This wave no doubt had barely any water to run over the reef with and probably sucked dry as it closed out after 20/30 metres or so.

The poor guy, ending up cannon-balling over the falls, broke his board (7ft step-up), gashed his back and was bleeding out everywhere.

Unbeknown to myself and all the other surfers - we carried on surfing, I went in 10/15minutes later. Caught up with this dude on the beach and saw his board in two, back covered in blood and all the locals & tourists swarming him whilst all they could hear him muttering was "shark" and "my back".

I guess the moral of the story is...don't freak out if you see something out whilst surfing. They're wild animals. Just as a lion might behave when it stumbles across you in the wild (Im from S.Africa)..you dont run or create panic & noise. A tiger/great white will behave the same, its inquisitive at first. If you've seen it first you can already count yourself lucky. It already saw you before you saw it. The only reason it hasnt attacked you is because its trying to figure out what sort of prey you are, if any.

P.S Nothing against Californians, this is just how I remember the story.

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goofyfoot commented Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 at 6:13pm

This is pretty lame compared to some of the stories on here but here goes.. My brother and I were out the back of portsea on a flat as a tack day which only happens about 3 times a year here. I was getting abs while he was spearing, I was about 10 mts away from him when I heard his gun go off and I look across and he has got a big flat head goin nuts on the end of his spear. I swim over for a look and as I get to him a bronzy about 7-8ft long swam slowly underneath us about 4-5 mts below. I point towards the shore and he nods his head and we start swimming slowly back keeping an eye on it the whole time. Meanwhile this flatty is still thrashing around on the spear so he has put it out of its misery whit the knife through the head. This has caused blood to start pissing out and after about a minute the bronzy is trailing us about 5 mts behind never getting any closer! We are trying to keep calm and my bro didn't want to get rid of his fish so we swam for about a further 5 minutes with it still slowly Following us and when it got to about 10mts of the shore it casually turned and swam slowly back out. For some reason I am always thinking about sharks a lot more when spearing compared to surfing.. Maybe because you probably won't see one if it goes you when surfing, but the chances is seeing one before it attacks when spearing are higher??

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skinnybones commented Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 at 6:19pm

Had a few run ins with the man in the grey suit. Surfing South Wall about 20 years ago and there had been a big old Tiger shark bumping people in the weeks previously. Sitting in the line up next to the wall just inside the pack further out when I looked down to see this massive noah's head underneath me coming from behind me. As it glided under I could see it's sides either side of my knees , so 18" plus another 6' in width before it's pectorals. It started to rise underneath me and I looked behind me. There was 5'- 6' behind my board and 3' in front, so plus the length of my board this thing was huge. I remember the words " black " and "death " just popped into my head and raising my arm as if I wanted to be lifted out of the water as that seemed to be the only way out and away from this fucker. It just kept going and veered into deeper water around the crew that were further out. No one else saw it. I went straight to the beach , when one of my my mates saw me he reckons I was white and all I said was Fuck-Fuck-Fuck over and over. I went home that night and drank a carton of Tooheys to myself and it didn't even seem to affect me.
Another time surfing North wall with one other guy and heard an odd flapping whooping sort of noise while sitting on my board. Turned my head and a 6' Bronzie was doing a jump and spin right above me. Basically went over the top of me landing in the water just missing the nose of my board. Caught the next wave on my belly but had to paddle across a deep gutter to get to shore and this critter shadowed me all the way.
Last winter surfing the Point ( Lennox ) paddling back out ,on this weird fishy day, looked to my inside straight into the eye of a Whitey. It's eye was about the size of the top of a Schooner glass. Head was about 2' under water and he was sorta on his side like he was just checking me out. He kept swimming directly towards a mate that was sitting at the take off spot but I didn't yell out cause I didn't want him to panic. I thought that if it was going to go him, well there wasn't much point screaming at him and I was only 15m away. It motored toward him and then left turned into deeper water. I paddled up and told him and then we both decided to call it a day.
Coolest incident was at N Straddie a couple of years ago for the Assault. Sitting out at Pt Lookout and this 6' - 8' noah was cruising parallel to the line up for about 20 mins. We all could see it and the water was clear so it was being monitored in a way. This clubbie swims out with a pair of flippers on and I warned him that there was a noah out there. He says " yeah I know mate ". He swam slowly straight at it and it decided to leave. They breed em tough on Straddie

floyd's picture
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floyd commented Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 at 9:04pm

Three shark stories told to me by local abalone divers.

Fishing on the bottom in tall bull kelp the diver gets an uneasy feeling of danger. He slowly swims up and sticks his head just above the level of the bull kelp only to discover a large while pointer swimming above and past him. Slowly swimming back to the bottom he finds a rock ledge to hide against and waits for 10 minutes or so before swimming to the surface and the boat calling it a day.

Fishing in the same area a diver returns to the boat satisfied with the catch. The diver and the deck crew notice something floating on the surface about 100 metres from the boat. They go over and investigate only to find a large seal freshly bitten in half with a massive pool of blood floating on the surface.

Different area but the diver is fishing in bull kelp. Again he gets this uneasy sense of fear and looks up. Not 20 feet away from him is a shark swimming slowly straight for him. Motionless the diver waits. The shark continues to swim straight for him and then nudges him backwards underwater (mouth closed) for 50 or so feet before turning and disappearing.

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spunjah commented Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012 at 10:28pm

I Was out at dustbowls, Yorke peninsula back in 2004, 36 degrees and a nice lil 2-3 ft swell running and bugger all people out was great fun. finished up and there was 3 blokes in the water 1 goin solo bout 500mtrs up the beach and 2 together just about straight out from bottom of staircase, As we were coming all the way up those blastin stairs got near the top and another crew just rocked up in the carpark when i heard my lil cuz say "is that a shark" thinking she just spotted a dolphin, when I turned for a look at first I was a bit unsure it was quite a distance as i really focused in up the beach I realised something that big (bout 4mtr) body moving so slowly and discreetly but covering so much ground up the beach couldnt of been anything else, the crew that just rocked up on the cliff and me, my mum, lil sis and lil cuz all just started yelling and screaming at the bloke goin solo up the beach there was no way he coulda heard a thing from that distance, but luckily for him he spotted it of his own accord he hot-tailed it out the water threw his board on the sand and started running and yelling up the beach towards the 2 blokes as we also turned our attention to them, I'll never forget how that guy got out and was sprinting up the beach screaming and this shark was just cruising and still covering about twice the ground he was on the sand, through the water making a straight line for the 2 blokes, who were just oblivious to everything it got within about 100mtrs when I started running down the staircase to get closer so they could hear when my mum blocked it of turned to me and said "theres nothing we can do" we thought they were gone, so I jumped the rail and started sprinting down the dune yelling and waving my arms about as the other guy was still coming up the beach doing the same and everyone on the cliff was still screaming. this thing was no more than 30 metres away when they finally heard something looked up and seen all the comotion going on all over the beach turned around and lucky for them a set coming through right there and it was a long wait between that day it was like a godsend, if they didnt get that wave one of them was gone just as they caught that wave the shark turned around headed seaward turned by the rocks and headed over salmon hole way, as I got down the dune and both of them were just wide eyed and couldnt stop saying or just about stuttering "DID YOU SEE THE SIZE OF THAT FUCKING THING!!" yeh guys we seen it a lot longer before yous did. Never going over that side again unless its pumping and a fair few crew on it.

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zenagain commented Thursday, 1 Nov 2012 at 2:53am

'Never going over that side again unless its pumping and a fair few crew on it'

I admire your moxy spunjah.

You ever play Roulette?

35-1 at the most.

Ignorance is Zen

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timp commented Thursday, 1 Nov 2012 at 7:51am

I can attest to the fact that they're there and you just don't see them. A couple of mates and I were camping on North Straddie for New Years a while back. One morning we were out surfing and there was heaps of stuff going on: dolphins buzzing around, birds diving, big schools of fish - it was like they were on show for the Blue Planet and David Attenborough. We thought we'd get out and move up the beach a bit. Did so, and had probably been surfing another hour or so, just chilling waiting for a set, and all of a sudden a bullshark, or bronzey just launched out of the water in between us. Totally cleared the water, and had the tail of a fish hanging out of its mouth. We were all sitting pretty close together, chatting, so when this thing popped up between our little party, so close, we were just gobsmacked. I reckon one of my mates was back on the beach before the shark landed back in the water, but the other one and I missed the wave, and had to paddle in, knowing that they were around. The only knowledge we could comfort ourselves with, was the fact that it (and its friends presumably) were there for the fish, and not us.

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sa-kav commented Thursday, 1 Nov 2012 at 9:52am

Nice thread Dipadee, should keep the east coast punters away from yorkes and west coast well done maybe your countering the smuck factor. Oopps hang on I dont wont a war with him.Back to the tale couple of mates witnessed the nz bloke who got killed at cactus and had to inform his wife horrid stuff and then packed up and drove down to surf blacks days latter still shaken and the young west coast lad got taken.They packed up went home and didnt surf for a while but eventually did.There out there aplenty not many sports that add a man eating machine into the mix.Love surfing.Keep up the good work on the site benny ball bag.

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toneranger commented Thursday, 1 Nov 2012 at 10:22am

Have skydivers got their own magazine and tell stories about parachutes not opening?

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george-peach commented Thursday, 1 Nov 2012 at 4:08pm

I reckon surfers must look poisonous to marine predators otherwise more of us would get bothered by them. Think of other slow visible creatures in the sea and on the land; they are mostly toxic or pretending to be so. Being pathetically slow and ill adapted to life in the ocean, and on top of that, oblivious to what is going on in the water (any shark must think this apparent nonchalance means we are deadly poison) is probably our best defence from shark strike. Anyway, all this talk about sharks is unproductive because it will make everyone nervous thereby undermining our toxic toad fish bravado. Still, the stories make a good read and might go some way to thinning the crowd. I fully agree with the DON'T PANIC slow exit from the water approach others have told of.

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reecen commented Thursday, 1 Nov 2012 at 4:47pm

The DON'T PANIC reminds me of another sharky story and my mate the farmer, who tried to previously put us in the middle of a berley trail of snapper carcasses.
We had finised work one arvo and decided to jump off the back of the reef and spear a fish and grab a couple of crays for dinner.
There were three of us and Mr Farmer was the only one with a spear gun, we all split up and the last i saw of him was as he was off stalking a nice niced groper. Me and my other mate were swimming around trying to find a couple of crays when we heard the gun go off. We could see in the distance that he had shot the groper and it was going bannanas with blood and scales going everywhere. Turns out that Mr Farmer had forgotten to tighten the spear head and the last we saw of the groper was it wriggling off into the black depths as though it was having an epileptic fit.
So off we went again trying to get a fish and crays, i had my head stuck under a ledge at the bottom of a little ridge and as I was coming back up over the ridge for a breath of air I ended up face to face with a pretty solid bronzie, normally they keep a bit of a distance but this guy had his back all arched and his pectorals angled down at what looked like 45 degrees, to top it off he had a bait band (packing strap) stuck around his head that was cutting right into him.
The shark was super agitated and zigging and zagging around in front of me so i stuck my head out of the water and calmly called the boys over to "come and check this out".
As they both started finning over the shark backed off about twenty metres, that was until Mr farmer (the only one with any kind of weapon) saw the shark and proceeded to put us between him and the shark, pointed the gun to shore and started thrashing and screaming as hard as he could for the rocks.
That left me and my mate on our backs with what was now suddenly a super agitated, wounded bronzie zipping around trying to get around our backs. Amazing what adrenaline can do as we both ended up really calm and focused and just kept positioning ourselves and kicking our flippers in its face, until we ended up in knee deep water and started running backwards up the reef until we got out of the water.
We caught a case of the bravados after that and grabbed a smoky thinking we would go out and put the poor thing out of it's misery but never saw it again.

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indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 1 Nov 2012 at 5:18pm

Lived up at Fraser Island for a few years the waves were crap but fishing amazing, ive never seen so many sharks(or snakes) id see one about once a month, seen them while fishing and surfing, mostly bull sharks and the odd tiger shark and the bull sharks they do come into the white water ive seen them get crabs almost off the beach.

Even though i saw sharks in the water while surfing the time i really freaked out seeing one was when i was out fishing behind the outer bank about 200m offshore, fishing from a ski, I saw a whole school of fish swim by then i saw a shark it following the school then it turned around and came right up next to me almost to the surface and its one eye fully looked straight a me, is was totally surreal it was only a split second or two, then it just darted back off after the fish, did freak me out though.

Only other time Ive seen are shark was just off phillip island, surfing a beachie alone on a tiny clean day, i saw a shark move a few feet below me, i could see it perfectly, it was only about 6ft long but i paddled in all the same.

Ada gula, ada semut!

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old-dog commented Thursday, 1 Nov 2012 at 5:53pm

"If people in S.A. knew what was watching them every time they went for a surf they would quit" Quote from a spotter in the shark patrol helicopter.
In the 90's the Roaders were having a rally at a remote South coast beach. About 15 guys were spread along about 100m hunting down the shifty 4ft. glassy barrels coming out of deep water and exploding onto the shallow sand banks close to shore.A few members were grilling up some snags from the meat tray won at the pub the previous night on an open fire when a crop duster plane started circling and dive bombing the crew in the water.Everyone assumed it was the land owner angry at us for trespassing and gave him the fingers and kept on surfing.After awhile they all came in to get the heats under way and the pilot/farmer came running down waving his arms and what he said next sent shivers down the spines of all present.He couldnt believe no one had noticed the massive White Pointer cruising around watching us and coming within inches and going around and under us at times looking like we were sitting on its back such was the clarity of the water. He said he he'd been spotting it all week slowly cruising up and down the empty beach.
Luckily it was a good day for a barbie.

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dudette commented Friday, 2 Nov 2012 at 11:34am
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woohcs commented Friday, 2 Nov 2012 at 7:17pm

In my first incarnation as a surfer(pre kids, work and mortgage), I'd had three encounters with the bitey biteys, heres two...more beer till three... was about thirteen and living in suburban melb, all you can do is pray for a south westerly and the promise of a bay wave. was about mid to late sept and a 40 knot sw blowin after a cool change, and faking sickness at school(along with seven others) knew it was on. washing machine conditions, about one and a half a foot and messy...but when its all you can get without hitching?...been out about an hour and had already drifed from mordi to edi twice and walked back, paddled out next to the mordi creek . about half way out paddling, like a motorboat, suddenly felt a serios pain, like a horse bite, in my right forearm, and a mushy feeling in my hand. pulled my arm up quik and had about a metre-ish long shark attached up to my elbow! screemed like a little girl for what seemed like an eternity before finaly making a fist and(presumably) ripping its guts out! three of the seven out saw it all and were pissing themselves laughing at me waiving this thing around over my head and doing my best banshee impression. I must have paddled straight into its mouth, freaked me out completly, for one for what happened and for two i had to explain to my folks why my new wetsuit was shredded on one arm(i was supposed to be at school)...two weeks later a new cold front came with the almighty sou'wester that meakes it happen...mate on a booger yells 'something just bumped me' as i look at him, BANG!, almightgy pain in the calf. didn't see anything this time, but my wetsuit had a bit mark about the size of a grapefruit. both times no skin was broken, but my wetsuit showed the damage. Later swapped the wetsuit with a purveyor of goods for a good night...20yrs later wish i'd kept that wetsuit. Later found out juvenile bronzies play in the bay in huge numbers, and come every year. Still surf next to the nobbies and penguin parade without thinking about it though.

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woohcs commented Friday, 2 Nov 2012 at 7:27pm

must add, never said the stories were that intense!

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paddydog commented Saturday, 3 Nov 2012 at 12:53am

Grew up on the mid coast and always remember as a kid (early 70s) the shark spotter planes patrolling and siren going when another shark was spotted...a particularly large and regular visitor at the time was dubbed "big fred" in the media...

anyway I had never seen one until I was in my late teens (early eighties) and surfing seaford reef, sun just set, dead glassy, I'm the last one out my brother and mate already up in the carpark, sitting waiting for a wave and a fin pops up to my left about ten metres away, swims parallel to me for about ten metres then disappears, fin probably sitting about 30cm out of the water,total sensory overload, Im freaking, frozen...the paddle through the channel back to the beach was silent but swift (sorry anti climax!)

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drivinlongtime commented Saturday, 3 Nov 2012 at 3:28pm

was out at geger beach last feb when i saw my first sharky in the water while surfing (after 30+ yrs). me and this other guy (a yank) had a peak to ourselves (it was small but ok) when this 2-3ftr jumps out of the wave coming at us and does a cartwheel. never seen anything like that b4. looked like it was having fun! The yank freaked and paddled in, leaving me the peak (yanks and brazilians in bali - worse than sharks in my opinion). When you live in SA, anything under 4ft is a joke, ha ha ha

(once saw an 8+ftr cruising thru rockpools from the top of the headland. it was heading to the crew at SH but then we lost sight of it)

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yorkessurfer commented Saturday, 3 Nov 2012 at 3:48pm

Not as dramatic as Hazey's experience but was surfing really nice but crowded Pondy rights on a long weekend some years back. There was a dead fish floating in the lineup. Maybe a fisherman in a boat had dragged the thing to death and then lost it. Anyway this bronzy about 4ft long appears and grabs the fish in front of the whole pack. Everyone bolted in but a few of us got to the shorebreak and just turned around and headed back out. The shark had got what it wanted and a few sets came through without the crowd before they all came back out so it was worth the risk I think:)

The only leg Australia has to stand on.....

yorkessurfer's picture
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yorkessurfer commented Saturday, 3 Nov 2012 at 3:49pm

Not as dramatic as Hazey's experience but was surfing really nice but crowded Pondy rights on a long weekend some years back. There was a dead fish floating in the lineup. Maybe a fisherman in a boat had dragged the thing to death and then lost it. Anyway this bronzy about 4ft long appears and grabs the fish in front of the whole pack. Everyone bolted in but a few of us got to the shorebreak and just turned around and headed back out. The shark had got what it wanted and a few sets came through without the crowd before they all came back out so it was worth the risk I think:)

The only leg Australia has to stand on.....