"You always say it won't happen to me": Victorian shark attack victim speaks

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

6651896-3x2-700x467.jpgA Portland surfer attacked by what is believed to be a bronze whaler last week hopes other surfers can learn from his experience.

Kane Brough was surfing by himself at Tyrendarra near Portland late on Thursday when the attack happened. The shark came up behind him, Kane felt a bite and heard a splash. He remembers thinking - hoping - that it was a seal.

As Kane told the ABC: "It put a bite in my wetsuit on my left-hand thigh, and basically from there it just kept coming back on each side.

"Every time I saw its head or it was up near me I tried to punch it as hard as I could." When the similarities to the Mick Fanning incident, which happened just four days prior, are brought to his attention Kane gives a wry laugh. Both surfers know they were extremely lucky.

Kane managed to break free from the shark and paddled straight for the beach. The rest of the ordeal reads like one of those 'Only in Australia' stories so popular on social media. After surviving the shark attack Kane drove himself 20 kilometres to the Portland District Hospital before undergoing surgery at the Warrnambool Base Hospital for a tendon injury to his hand.

Since the injury Kane has turned down numerous requests from the mainstream media to speak about the incident, but the thought of not saying anything doesn't sit well with him. "I'd like other surfers to be made aware," says Kane.

"You hear about these things [shark attacks] all the time but you always say it won't happen to me."

"I was surfing late," says Kane. "It was almost 5:30 pm, dark, and I was surfing alone. We think we're invincible, but surfers should think twice about surfing early or late and surfing alone." In short, start taking commonsense measures.

And should those measures fail then note the similarity between Kane and Mick's reaction; both surfers fought back, hard.

Two days after Kane's attack a scallop diver was killed by a great white shark on Tasmania's east coast. "It made me realise just how lucky I am," says Kane.

Ultimately, everyone is reponsible for themselves, where they surf and when, but while he recovers from his injuries Kane's message to all surfers is simple: "Take care and be very aware."

Comments

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 3:18pm

Roger that

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 3:19pm

Thanks kane good luck for recovery for you

the-spleen_2's picture
the-spleen_2's picture
the-spleen_2 commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 3:32pm

Ditto to that. Hope you're in the water again real soon.

stan1972's picture
stan1972's picture
stan1972 commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 3:36pm

Who hasn't surfed really early or really late? Who's going to stop? Be alert not alarmed has never rung more true.

Hope you're on the mend real soon Kane.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 3:40pm

Agree.
All the FNC NSW attacks recently have been broad daylight.

Get well soon Kane

kaiser's picture
kaiser's picture
kaiser commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 4:39pm

Definitely. I wouldn't assume 'cos it's after 9am I'll be fine'
All the recent attacks/ fatalities have been mid to late morning from what I can gather. Clear water too.

ACB__'s picture
ACB__'s picture
ACB__ commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 4:51pm

All at mid-morning 10am -11am

spencie's picture
spencie's picture
spencie commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 4:38pm

For 30 years Broken Head was my local home beach and I think on average I saw a shark (or sharks) about one surf in three, sometimes beneath me thick enough not to be able to see the sand. I've witnessed a 6 foot shark sniffing my foot in one metre deep water but have never been attacked. I'm still shit-scared of them but consider myself lucky when the recent events come to light.
It would appear that when someone is attacked it is simply damned unlucky and it is a credit to all those surfers who attempt to fight back and get away.
Hope you recover quickly and get back in the water soon.

easterly

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 5:01pm

One in three surfs! Fuck that!

curl's picture
curl's picture
curl commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 5:22pm

I heard that it was a myth that more sharks attacks happened at dawn and dusk, considering that sharks mostly use other senses than eye sight to hunt the myth doesn't make much sense. A bit of cold hard science would help.
Do sharks hunt at dawn and dusk? (Like vampires)
Does colouring our wetsuits and surfboard really help? My mate just paid $50 to have his board sprayed.
Are sharks really attracted to yellow?

Curl

earthbound's picture
earthbound's picture
earthbound commented Friday, 31 Jul 2015 at 12:33am

Ive been involved in an attack by a 9-10ft White juvenile here on the mid North Coast of NSW. My mate was the unlucky recipient of the White's attentions, with it coming up directly underneath him, luckily only taking a good chomp out of his board and then leaving.
It was early morning January 2007, with really dark plankton filled cold water due to a season of super cold NE upwellings - we had temp's of 16.5 degrees that January!! We were surfing a break that was associated with a lake opening that tends to flush out the lake - so more bait to be had. But it's a rare occasion so grabbing an early with no-one else out was rare!!

We were both paddling out talking to each other about 6-8ft apart and I sat up on my board just before my mate, who stopped about 12 ft away from me. He was still laying on his board about to sit up when the shark hit him from underneath. He rolled off the back and I turned to see him falling off the back of the board, the board rolling over onto him and a large fin going down into the drink right next to him. He scrambled back onto his board with eyes as big as saucers and we paddled to each other's side. then we both paddled for the next wave that came in and he unfortunately didn't get it, whilst I did. I realised he hadn't caught it and pulled off about 20-30m further in and waited for him, and he was lucky enough to catch the next one - to say we were both shitting ourselves would be an understatement!!

The CSIRO fisheries expert came up a day or so later to investigate - noted the bite size and shape of the teeth and proclaimed it a 9-10 ft juvenile white.

I was riding my normal yellow sprayed board, he a plain white one.
The shark didn't come back for more and we didn't see it again, whilst in water or on land. One chomp of a bad mouthful and he left presumably?

Talking to the specialist from CSIRO made it clear that they are far from random, they select carefully, only try to get something they think they can and typically come from behind and underneath. They don't waste energy on things they can't eat and don't risk getting injured. But the juveniles are likely to "bite" to explore what they are after, though they are juvenile for around 6 years and during that time they typically don't eat large sea mammals. It's the breeding aged whites that eat seals etc... The researcher's estimate there are only 1500 breeding age Whites around the whole of Australia.

Cold weedy water, heaps of smaller bait fish around and early morning makes for hard to see when on the surface - perfect opportunity for the shark....
There's way too much hysteria around the attacks
We saw heaps of noah that season, and have had a few big ones come through this year too.
I struggle to surf early now and choose to surf with a mate ahead of my own if it's early, when I used to love being the only one in...I just follow common-sense now really

earthbound

earthbound's picture
earthbound's picture
earthbound commented Friday, 31 Jul 2015 at 12:36am

as a less verbose side comment - go see Barry Bruce do his talk on White's if you ever get a chance? And read "the Devil's Teeth" by Susan Carey for some decent perspective
They are seriously smart adaptable critters. We just happen to be the equivalent of lame animals when in the ocean - make for a good target

earthbound

dangler's picture
dangler's picture
dangler commented Friday, 31 Jul 2015 at 11:27am

ONLY 1500 !! breeding age whites ..... eerrrrr ..........

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Friday, 31 Jul 2015 at 3:05pm

Sounds like the attack on Dave Sparkes a few years ago right?

crustt's picture
crustt's picture
crustt commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 5:33pm

I actually find it quite stupid all the hoopla going on about sharks being attracted to yellow, have any other surfers with yellow boards been attacked?
Could someone explain to me why yellow attracts shark, without mentioning Mick Fanning.:-)

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 31 Jul 2015 at 12:59pm

Darren Handley mentioned yellow boards in an interview I did with him, and that came from South African fisherman Mick had spoken to. It was anecdotal and presented as such. Not sure I've read much else about board colours?

jaunkemps's picture
jaunkemps's picture
jaunkemps commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 6:12pm

Does anyone remember that Wayne Lynch story quite a few years ago in one of our famous surf mags maybe surfing life l think, that story was truly spooky, look it up and read it as it will freak you out home boys !!!!!!!
To add the infamous Vic Hislop wrote sharks have a kind of route they travel and seemed to drop through the same corridor at similar dates through out the season, everyone thought him to be a weirdo but no one proved him to really be one, wheres he now I ask ?
Penny for your thoughts Mr VH........

Newtzy's picture
Newtzy's picture
Newtzy commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 6:50pm

Vic Hislop is more of a fuckwit than a weirdo.

dangler's picture
dangler's picture
dangler commented Friday, 31 Jul 2015 at 11:29am

It might be time to bring old Vic-H back

trippinpete's picture
trippinpete's picture
trippinpete commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 6:18pm

Good on you Kane for not answering to the media and fuelling the fire. Recover, get your head right and get back out there.

panaitan's picture
panaitan's picture
panaitan commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 7:46pm

Agree - good rational response

jaunkemps's picture
jaunkemps's picture
jaunkemps commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 6:23pm
Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfc... commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 9:14pm

That was a great yarn.
I had a similar thing happen to me nearly 10 yrs ago at a nsw Central Coast beach with a fin chasing me in twice right on dusk, however I didnt see the shark. I waited for somebody to come out and a couple of locals paddled and I said, "there's a shark out there." One old bloke said, "there's always f$cking sharks out there." Made me feel like a dickhead, so I paddled out a third time. Didn't see another shark

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 6:29pm

All the best for the recovery mate.

What is it with bronzies in Vic and whites in NSW, thats' topsy turvy.?

stickbait's picture
stickbait's picture
stickbait commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 6:57pm

good old vic. fuckwit, weirdo. but knows sharks.

stickbait

Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfc... commented Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 at 9:24pm

Good story Kane, hope you have a speedy recovery and get back amongst it

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Friday, 31 Jul 2015 at 1:28pm

Amazing that it was a Bronze whaler....Portland is renowned for big whites....Kane I think now realizes how close he was to.......especially when he's surfing near a huge seal colony.....I wonder if he would take the same risk again.....bloody Victorians..pardon the pun...

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Saturday, 1 Aug 2015 at 5:44am

In case you missed it, Mick Fanning was visited by a Shark here on the Tweed Coast last weekend - first surf back too!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyQoTmMmtrg

Jump to the 45 sec mark!

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

garnget's picture
garnget's picture
garnget commented Tuesday, 4 Aug 2015 at 10:32am

I recently had a conversation with an old time local whose brother was a long time pro fisherman who was adamant that his siblings not to wear anything yellow in the water. This was after using yellow marker buoys for his cray traps that were continually trashed by large sharks he changed to red buoys and never had the same problem.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Tuesday, 4 Aug 2015 at 5:44pm

"....it won't happen to me". was definitely in evidence this arvo. I spotted a very large grey shape just beyond the crowd that I would say was 90% certain as a shark. Told half a dozen others as I paddled in no-one took it seriously.

Anto's picture
Anto's picture
Anto commented Tuesday, 4 Aug 2015 at 6:32pm

Where was this BB?

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Tuesday, 4 Aug 2015 at 6:41pm

North Curl Curl 5.00pm approx

rule303's picture
rule303's picture
rule303 commented Sunday, 9 Aug 2015 at 6:05pm

If you surf you will encounter sharks , numerous encounters thankfully nothing bad one that stands out was surfing on a coral reef in the pacific with one mate when we were both waiting for a wave and a shark about 8ft long (i was on a 7'4 it was bigger) cruised slowly up next to us and surfaced on its side and looked at us from 2 metres away than glided away , we kept surfing it was pure curiosity and a memorable experience.