A dive into the food chain

Carcharodon Dundee
Swellnet Dispatch

Without a lot of fanfare the modern age has seen an historically unprecedented gulf emerge between humanity and the natural world.

Within a generation or two, Western society has largely disconnected from the imposition of nature on our lives: People escape the summer heat with air conditioning, the tyranny of distance with automobiles, and the tenuousness of seasonal food supply with industrial agricultural. There is no necessity for the modern human to involuntarily interact with the wild planet in any meaningful sense. This disconnect has led not just to a poverty of the human spirit, it has begun to reverse the ability of humans to assess and cope with the ordinary mortal threat posed by a natural world which is ambivalent to our survival. 

For many people, surfing is an opportunity to acquaint themselves with nature in a most undiluted fashion. We revel in this opportunity to brush against the elements in their rawest form and our lives are enriched for the experience. Yet it is now obvious that many surfers have still not come to terms with the true extent of the consequences which may unfold when we take that happy plunge into the surf. 

Following years of heavy fishing pressure, the numbers of white sharks went into decline and interactions with humans were rare beyond the coastline adjacent to the Great Australian Bight - surfers in and adjacent to the Bight never lost their appreciation of the threat posed by white sharks. For surfers in the other surf zones, the probability of death by white shark receded with shark numbers.

Like the whales before them, protection of the white shark appears to have reversed the decline in shark numbers. Whether or not this apparent recovery in shark numbers can be scientifically attributed to the recent increase in attacks is yet to be established. In the meantime, surfers around Australia are now becoming accustomed to a new reality, one in which they discover that their section of coastline may not be the safe haven from white sharks which they’d previously assumed it to be. The recent shark attacks on the North Coast of NSW have followed on from a pattern of attacks established previously in South West WA.

(Wikimedia  Commons)

My own surfing experience straddled the reemergence of white sharks as a genuine presence in WA's South West. Within the span of a few short years, my friends and I went from surfing and diving without any real regard for shark attack to weighing up the threat every time we entered the water. Initially, this registered as a siege mentality, the idea that we could just steel ourselves through this period of enhanced danger until normalcy returned and the spiked increase in shark threat was revealed as a short term aberration, or that government would somehow intervene.

In retrospect, it was naive to imagine the attacks would, not just increase in frequency, but the range of locations would also increase. This deluded thinking was a blessing when I began regularly visiting the North Coast of NSW and was again able to enjoy being able to enter the water without the idea of sharks weighing on my mind. 

It took a few years before I saw my first East Coast white and then a few more before I saw another. It’s always a thrill to see these supreme creatures when there is no direct threat and I felt lucky to be amongst the relatively small number of people who had seen one. Within a surprisingly short period the number of people who have seen a white in the flesh began to grow rapidly. Whilst the advent of social media can account for greater communication about sightings, it was obvious that the sheer numbers of sharks must be increasing. Soon enough I was personally spotting more white sharks in a year than I had in the preceding decades combined. The attacks started to occur around the Ballina/Byron region and it all started to feel very reminiscent of the new shark reality which dawned in the South West a few years into the millennium. 

The region I surf - between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour - had still avoided a fatal attack. Whilst interactions between surfers and whites happened with semi-regularity in the area, I felt there was still a feeling of safety amongst surfers in the area. That same feeling which had no doubt existed in Ballina prior to the first fatal attack. Which brings me to this year, when it seemed the numbers of sharks I saw increased yet again. This was starting to concern me as I surf alone the majority of the time. Whilst I don’t believe that surfing amongst a crowd offers any protection, the fact that others may be present to lend assistance in the event of an attack is undeniable. When I’d be surfing solo and another surfer would join me I’d sometimes lightheartedly mention that I was happy to share the lineup for this reason. This seemed to promote looks of bemusement as though I was talking about a situation which was so remote as to be virtually impossible.

A few weeks ago I went through this exact situation at a fortuitous little sandbank which had formed in an unlikely and hard-to-access location. I’d spied the bank forming on a fishing expedition weeks previously and paid regular visits to track its progress. I’d always take my rod as the spot usually held fish. It also held sharks which I saw every time I visited. The last trip without a surfboard found a lovely new surf break. Sand had been pushed into a long and shallow bar which was starting to reveal itself on the change of swell direction. A large school of salmon was easily visible in the clear shallow water at the head of the bank. So was the white shark which was lazily corralling the school into a tight ball before making strikes through its middle. 

Over the next week, I surfed the bank several times on my own or with just a couple of others, then the weekend brought a dozen local surfers out to enjoy the waves. Nice people who live in a small surf community. Before the crowd had grown during the day I’d been out the back on my own waiting for a wave when I’d seen a shower of fish spray a few metres away and took an educated guess as to what had alarmed them. One of the locals paddled back out and I remarked what I’d seen and we discussed the shark situation at this remote spot. I mentioned that if shit ever got real there was a tourniquet in my backpack on the rocks. He found this a bit alarmist. I felt that perhaps his attitude would be different if he knew people who’d been killed by sharks, knew people who’d been mauled, and knew people who’d pulled victims from the water.

Finishing my surf, I started to walk back along the track to my car. With a clear view of the surrounding ocean I remarked to my friend that it’d be cool to spot a white. Straight away she saw a shark cruising along the edge of the sandbar about half a kilometre from the break and headed in that direction. The shark was eight or nine feet long and at this point only ambling along. Some of the surfers had brought their boat out to the lineup instead of walking and the shark seemed to sense it from some distance and swam towards it. We watched the shark but we were still unconcerned as the presence of sharks is not unusual, until that is the shark lost interest in the boat and made a beeline for the surfers who were roughly 150 metres away.

(Carcharodon Dundee)

You could tell the shark was honing in on the surfers as soon as it left the boat. No hesitation or ambivalence, it moved directly. Now we got concerned. Despite being a few hundred metres from the break we started shouting to the surfers. It took a few moments for them to realise we were shouting to them, and by this time the shark had focused on a couple of surfers on the inside - a man and a young girl on a soft top board. Luckily the young girl paddled for a wave and took herself towards shore. The man left behind still had no idea that a large shark was positioning itself to approach him from behind in a couple of feet of clear water.

It was only when the white was within a few metres did the man hear our voices and turned to see what we were yelling about. Just as he turned towards us and the shark, the fish veered around him and swam away. Whether the shark had any intention of attacking or was just curious is impossible to say. No offence to the man involved, but I’m just glad it wasn’t the young girl the shark had focused on as her smaller, less intimidating size may have led to a different outcome. 

(Carcharodon Dundee)

The next few days I started looking into the existing knowledge of white sharks. Amongst sources I checked was the Dorsalwatch website where I found that tagged white sharks were a regular visitor to the shark tag receiving buoy in the bay at South West Rocks. So regular were they that the receiver had pinged virtually every single day for the last few months -  sometimes many times per day. Surely that couldn’t all be different sharks? 

I got in contact with Dr Paul Butcher who is the lead scientist on the shark tagging program for NSW Fisheries. Dr Butcher turned out to be a friendly bloke who was keen to answer questions from an interested surfer. He told me that, yes, each ping on the receiver was very likely to be a separate individual as the whites didn’t establish territory in the area. They transited south to north, and they were now returning south in a similar pattern to the whale migration. The sharks tend to head north at the same time as the whales but can lag on their return. Thus, when many whales are already passed on their journey back to the Southern Ocean, the white sharks which were tagged in the Ballina region eight weeks ago are now commencing the return to Victorian and Tasmanian waters and are registering on the South West Rocks, Crescent Head, and Port Macquarie receivers. 

Apparently the Forster region had traditionally been the recognised white shark hotspot, but in the last 18 months it was the area around South West Rocks which was now showing large numbers of shark visitations. 

I described the situation we’d witnessed and how impressed I’d been with the shark’s ability to sense an object at such a great distance despite the background noise and vibration of rolling surf. I knew that sharks had incredible sense of smell and I’d assumed this was primarily responsible for their ability to locate prey at large distance, with their lateral line capable of detecting movement at the mid range and that the electroreceptors within the shark’s nose only effective at short range.

Dr Butcher explained that it was indeed the electroreceptors within the Ampullae of Lorenzini which allowed sharks to register objects at distance even when they are motionless and scentless. He mentioned the habits of white sharks as he’d observed through drones. Their casual swimming speed of three to four km/h and their inquisitiveness which leads them to investigate any objects they detected from jellyfish to plastic bags, and that their typical modus operandi is to approach within a few metres for a visual inspection then decide whether the object is interesting or not, in which case it will veer away. 

Whether the shark we saw approach the surfer was disinterested or daunted is beyond knowing. I’m just grateful that he avoided injury and that I wasn’t witness to such a horrible situation. The only certainty is that not all surfers will be lucky enough to avoid a deadly interaction with these animals as the years roll on. This is not a reason to live in fear. Death is not imminent whenever you enter the ocean. But I think that the pattern of attacks will continue its expansion into regions of Australia where surfers have previously felt they were unlikely to experience becoming part of the food chain. Time of day appears to be irrelevant. Water depth and clarity are not indicative of safety beyond the opportunity surfers may have to spot the fish with enough time to retreat. The likelihood of an attack is predicated more by the sense of safety and confidence experienced by the shark than it is by any feelings of safety the victim may possess. 

A new era is upon us where nature is up close and personal in the form of very large fish which may decide to eat you. Surfers are comfortable dealing with the threat posed by large waves and shallow reefs. We have accepted these dangers with magnanimity. Now is time for us to accept the ongoing presence of white sharks and learn to accept them with grace. Petitioning the government to intervene may even lead to an unwelcome intrusion of authority into our freedom. Governments already ban surfing during some large swells and storms and the tendency of authorities to apply blunt restrictions should not be forgotten. The last thing we need is to have surfers receiving fines if they continue to surf in the event of a shark sighting . 

Learn some basic first aid in case you ever find yourself with the opportunity to save a life, carry a tourniquet with your surfing kit, and get out in the ocean with an appreciation that it’s the last place on Earth to truly experience life in all it’s irreducible beauty and violence.

// CARCHARODON DUNDEE

Thanks to Dr Paul Butcher. 

Comments

blowfly's picture
blowfly's picture
blowfly commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 8:10am

This is the clearest statement of how most of us feel I have ever come across. Great work Carcha!

Garryh's picture
Garryh's picture
Garryh commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 9:52am

Pet theory...whale populations and seal populations and Salmon populations were down about 95% due to human activities up to about 1980...this also meant that great white population was also down 95%. The past 40 years have been the safest for surfers (from great whites). Prey species are (slowly but surely) returning and hence the predators are also returning to create balance. We better get used to their presence.

WinterSwells

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 8:32am

"This disconnect has led not just to a poverty of the human spirit"

Beautiful observation. Impeccably written article.

Thanks

Billie

Johknee's picture
Johknee's picture
Johknee commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 12:45pm

Sounds likes MLKJr

"Yet, in spite of these spectacular strides in science and technology, and still unlimited ones to come, something basic is missing. There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers."

https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1964/king/lecture/

Bungan33's picture
Bungan33's picture
Bungan33 commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 8:49am

Beautifully written and articulated perspective. I too loved the comment on the poverty of the human spirit due to a disconnection with nature. I think that is one of my fundamental beliefs about modern society.
Thanks for taking the time to write such a great piece.

Im gonna keep my toes up this morning when I surf though.....

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 8:52am

Very well written and i agree with your thoughts and also the above comments. Hat's off for taking the initiative and being proactive in seeking information too. Thanks.

panaitan's picture
panaitan's picture
panaitan commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 8:58am

Nice piece. If only all of could be so balanced.

Standingleft's picture
Standingleft's picture
Standingleft commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 9:18am

Good to get some facts on the mysteries of the deep blue seas. It all seems horribly random to us floating around in our own worlds riding the surface tension oblivious to the life and death surrounding us

Geereg's picture
Geereg's picture
Geereg commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 9:33am

Thanks for putting pen to paper Carcharodon. I knew Nick Slater and I’m pretty sure he’d raise a glass to you. Nick, me and one other mate once paddled way out behind the break at Yagen to get closer to a pair of Southern right whales. One swam right under our toes in crystal clear water - never forget it. Nick loved the ocean, camping, all that shit

Gg

dandob's picture
dandob's picture
dandob commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 9:51am

Fantastic read. To trumpet an overused phrase, this is the new normal.

Vunerable's picture
Vunerable's picture
Vunerable commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 10:00am

Learn to accept them with grace?
I have watched GWS for my whole surfing life with respect.
There’s nothing graceful about a fatal shark attack Dundee.
I too lived in the south west of W.A. when the first attack occurred. A couple of us surfed the next morning at the premier break.Very heartfelt big perfect waves that I’ll never forget. Deep blue water respect for the passed surfer.
The cage dive operators in SA Neptune islands were spewing after the orcas killed a shark and their population disappeared.
If one or two dead white sharks left to bleed in the water deters other sharks from feeding on us, why don’t the authorities trial that.
I just can’t fathom the pictures of large shark on the east coast swimming away from a fatal attack in clear water.
We are as much a part of the environment as they are.
Indigenous people shoot dangerous or killer crocs.
Not scared, only wary of too much political correctness.

stanfrance's picture
stanfrance's picture
stanfrance commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 10:06am

Can you go into a bit more detail on the indigenous perspective Vulnerable?

Stan France

A Salty Dog's picture
A Salty Dog's picture
A Salty Dog commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 10:14am

Stan, the indigenous have been shooting killer crocs with with high powered semi automatics for 60,000 years.

blowfly's picture
blowfly's picture
blowfly commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 10:19am

Is that what passes for a joke in your circles?

boxright's picture
boxright's picture
boxright commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 11:00am

I thought it was funny and I'm not in Salty Dog's circles.

SquattyCutback's picture
SquattyCutback's picture
SquattyCutback commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 12:13pm

Apparently laser guided bazookas have been depicted in cave paintings.

stanfrance's picture
stanfrance's picture
stanfrance commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 10:38pm

Very funny guys!

Stan France

Bungan33's picture
Bungan33's picture
Bungan33 commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 10:33am

I didnt pick up that thread of political correctness Vunerable. I think the beauty of the article was the pure absence of standing somewhere on the political line (which in my mind does nothing more than divide and push us into hate filled simplistic notions of good/bad when in fact the conversation is about grey, degrees, no one-fix answers).
You are right about humankind in history taking advantage of situations to step above their place in a food chain. Indigenous peoples of all nations would have had a go at an animal above their food chain place if they had the chance. But the sheer scale of human technology meant we have stepped out of the food chain hundreds of years ago. If we wanted to use an extreme of the food/natural dominance chain NOW we would round up and kill every great white we see. Just because we CAN doesn't meant we SHOULD.
This is where I saw the article settling. A calmer, more philosophical perspective on the risk we take by stepping into a dangerous natural environment.
Philosophy doesn't takes away the immediate, anger, loss and pain of someone we love suffering and dying - but it does console and possibly allow us to accept some things.
I think the article leaves us open to a different form of actual conversation rather than the left and right, green and (whats the opposite of a greenie?) shrieking match we usually hear. No one is 100% right. Kill all the sharks? Let children be eaten? Close off nature? The answer is not one of those but somewhere grey in between them all.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 10:39am

I think it will be the degree and rate of change of risk which might end up settling things, one way or the other.

If attacks stabilise , then people will get used to a risk , say, of 2 or 3 a year.

If 2 or 3 becomes 4 or 5 or 6.....then who knows. People will want something done.

It's instructive to look at the way crocs are managed in this country, even if the life histories and ecological niches of the animals are v. different.

The risk is assumed to fall completely on the individual in certain areas, in others crocs are intensively managed.

we already have a management system sort of based on that principle.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 12:20pm

Very well said and hopefully something more people can understand. Great to have thoughts like these put out there.

SquattyCutback's picture
SquattyCutback's picture
SquattyCutback commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 12:11pm

I agree in part vulnerable. I think we need to remember if the white shark is allowed to be an apex predator then so are we.....within reason ie don't ethnically cleanse them to extinction but if there is a similar "orca" solution that is a serious deterrent with no lasting impacts to the white shark population then it should be considered.

ozracer's picture
ozracer's picture
ozracer commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 10:59am

Agree on the trial method Vulnerable, the gw sense's instinctively when under threat and move on , problem solved. Not talking about an end of species cull, but a deterrent to manage a protected apex predator that has increased in numbers for human safety until an alternative effective method is developed. Hope they trial it soon.

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 10:24am

Good writeup, interesting perspective.

That South West Rocks has become a hotspot doesn't surprise me...
I remember once at the lighthouse/lookout just south of there seeing half a dozen big fish moseying along the bays below (at the same time). So that's always in the back of my mind when surfing that area.

P.S. anyone else reckon Mr. Dundee is in fact Blowin?

He who hesitates is lost

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 10:32am

Nicely written.

If we are going to invoke a return to a state of being in connection in nature it also needs to be said that human evolution and human culture has been intimately tied to protecting oneself and one's loved ones from predators.

In fact, not one of us would be standing here now, able to read this if our ancestors hadn't taken action to prevent, or mitigate predation from large animals.

A way to co-exist will have to be found but there will be a point at which people will preference their lives and their loved ones lives over a fish.

This idea, which is implied if not directly expressed in the article, that we would blithely accept that increase in predation, is in itself a kind of disconnect from nature.

No species has the luxury of behaving like that in the natural world.

Time to go surfing.

Its mind blowing how inquisitive they are, even in shallow clear water with sunshine.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 1:06pm

"Its mind blowing how inquisitive they are, even in shallow clear water with sunshine."

This is because they have absolutely zero threats in their natural habitat. They are king.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 2:53pm

Apart from Orcas

blowfly's picture
blowfly's picture
blowfly commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 10:57am

"P.S. anyone else reckon Mr. Dundee is in fact Blowin?"

Anything is possible Pops. He's good when he sticks to the things he knows well.

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 11:05am

As surfers we must reflect on our attitudes and behavior in the water, no more lackadaisical nature around predators - "aww, pretty grizzly bear", no! Caution: bear will take your face off with one swipe. Live in harmony and balance, not in awe of form.

Humans exploring space for other life is retarded, we fail to communicate with life on earth - whales smarter than humans?? https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/news-blog/are-whales-smarter-than-w...

"Every action has an equal and opposite reaction", Newton - smartest virgin to ever live?? Actions seeking balance with a disconnected technocratic 'reality' results in shark attack death - get me outta this bullshit world!?

But, if free will exists ('inherent chance in all living systems', 'God plays dice', Heisenberg and Niels Bohr), can we unify our minds to find a solution? 1) do not swim alone in a ball of bait fish on dusk.

Think: is it a double standard to kill millions of (domestic) animals per day for food, yet advocate the proliferation of predators in swimming areas? Or are we pining for the end to our own destructive nature?

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 11:06am

"Now is time for us to accept the ongoing presence of white sharks and learn to accept them with grace. Petitioning the government to intervene may even lead to an unwelcome intrusion of authority into our freedom. Governments already ban surfing during some large swells and storms and the tendency of authorities to apply blunt restrictions should not be forgotten. The last thing we need is to have surfers receiving fines if they continue to surf in the event of a shark sighting "

Give this man a cigar. You sir win the internet this week.
I can see it now. No wifi chip in your blank, no fins deployed. Scan your boardwith your ph before you hit the waves for clearance.

Sheepdog

Ontheroad's picture
Ontheroad's picture
Ontheroad commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 11:41am

As a surfer/spearo on the ballina/byron coast, i'd just like to say thanks for such a well written article.

I mulled over the opening line a couple of times...

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 11:57am

Adding my voice to the chorus of appreciation for the tone, eloquence and spirit of this article. It's not Black (tip) or (great) White but Grey (nurse) for sure.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 12:05pm

Well written Blowin dundee,nice article.Yesterday up here was possibly the most whales in one area ive ever seen,pods everywhere jumping and tailing so it wasnt any surprise that a 3 meter white was seen in the bay close by.Wonder what happens when the water goes dirty green with the northerlies soon......because it feels safer to surf in clear water .........but maybe not.

simba

Elliedog's picture
Elliedog's picture
Elliedog commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 1:31pm

Very well written and appreciate the balance and nature of the article. The water has gone green, the NE wind up early this year in my area. A mate of 25 years from my area has died whilst living and surfing 700km's away on a bank surfed by hundreds of others day in day out all year. RIP Nick Slater your a good man. Its really hit home for me this year and i'm very cautious when entering the water right now given the activity i'm seeing and hearing about. I hate the fact that my 14 year old boy hasn't followed my lead into surfing and diving but right now i'm kind of OK with it.

Luba

gsco's picture
gsco's picture
gsco commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 1:50pm

Definitely an elegant piece of writing with nice grammatical style. The first sentence and next paragraph really captured me and drew me away from my coding work.

We definitely don't want governments impinging on our beach and surfing freedom - speaking of which, time for a swim well away from any flags or people telling me what I can or can't do.

Bungan33's picture
Bungan33's picture
Bungan33 commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 2:27pm

My God... what strange land is this? A thread of harmony and respectful voices on the internet chat forums despite divergent views?????

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 2:33pm

I'm so pumped the level of discourse has become so nuanced and informed.
Surfers have taken over the discussion and it's so much better than the mainstream tripe you read about it.

Just on the subject of Govt intervention.
It needs to be acknowledged that is already happening and has been for decades.

Sydney shark nets (extended to cenny coast and Newy) have been in existence since '37.
QLD shark control program since '62.

Smart drums around here since 2016.

I think the much greater danger of Govt intervention is in the opposite direction. Ie if nothing gets done, attack rates continue to climb and the govt does what they did in Reunion and simply ban surfing, as being too dangerous. That would be almost inconceivable to imagine happening in Aus, but who knows what could happen if public opinion swayed govts.

A middle path seems a much safer bet to aim for.
ie some kind of management to allow co-existence, esp if the recovery plan works as intended and the numbers of white sharks rise.

Agitator's picture
Agitator's picture
Agitator commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 3:46pm

Sigh

surfstarved's picture
surfstarved's picture
surfstarved commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 3:11pm

What was that you were saying about nuanced and informed discourse Steve?

Don't let the bastards grind you down

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 4:24pm

Looks like he's deleted it, but he's entitled to that opinion.

And that view- that romanticising some sort of connection with nature is quasi-spiritual bollocks- also has a rich philosophical history attached to it.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 2:47pm

yeah cant see a cull happening unless the number of attacks escalates .....and who knows how many that would have to be.....but im sure the middle ground will be found in a personal deterrant.....

simba

Nickerless's picture
Nickerless's picture
Nickerless commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 3:38pm

that was a great read!

Elliedog's picture
Elliedog's picture
Elliedog commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 3:46pm

The article or Agitators comments?????.

Not sitting on the fence agitator.....

Luba

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 3:55pm

Cant blame Agitator for his view because anyone who has been harrassed by a shark knows what fear is and how having a good time one minute can become a nightmare real quick.

simba

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 4:17pm

Great piece.

I also feel for Agitator - no fun rock-hopping for your life, at all.

As FR mentioned earlier, this issue is going to involve a long look at risk. I think it's also highly likely that State governments will be forced to properly explore their legal liability and duty of care to the public. They have legal responsibility to manage both the resource/s and public safety, and I'd have thought a couple of savvy lawyers might construct a very tight corner for them in the event of attacks getting to the point where shark behaviour can be understood.

That's the rub: if the State invests in research and understands white sharks better, then they would appear to become increasingly obligated to act on that information and any failure to do so equates to negligence.....hey presto, off to court.

The alternative is more than likely a blunt instrument like a closed beach/ban on surfing which can be justified on 60 Minutes.

I reckon this is a dangerous period for surfing - not only from the damn sharks, but from the degree of intervention from the State that many people are calling for.

hamishbro's picture
hamishbro's picture
hamishbro commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 11:12pm

The threat of liability might be why there has been whispers of the smart drum lines getting removed, rather than being a permanent fixture, but don’t quote me. They’ve already provided a fair amount of embarrassing evidence against anyone who claimed the white shark was somehow endangered!!

overthefalls's picture
overthefalls's picture
overthefalls commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 4:28pm

Bravo, Blowin! I’m assuming you wrote this piece because it is so eloquently articulated. I wholly share your sentiments on this issue. I also surf by myself most of the time and the recent attacks have spooked me. Nevertheless, I have to accept the risk every time I enter the shark’s domain. I think the government must pour a lot more funds into researching shark behaviour so that we can implement measures that mitigate the risk.

blowfly's picture
blowfly's picture
blowfly commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 4:40pm

"I think the government must pour a lot more funds into researching shark behaviour so that we can implement measures that mitigate the risk."

This is over optimistic. Given that the loss of life is minimal compared to other ways the money could be spent I really can't see governments are going to do anything much except mitigate the risk to the tourist industry. Even there, this is much less than people tend to think as the majority of tourists don't surf or spend much time in the water. As the piece says, this is the way forward.

"Surfers are comfortable dealing with the threat posed by large waves and shallow reefs. We have accepted these dangers with magnanimity. Now is time for us to accept the ongoing presence of white sharks and learn to accept them with grace."

Agitator's picture
Agitator's picture
Agitator commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 7:21am

To clarify, having an appreciation of and experiencing a REAL connection with nature and all living beings is only possible on a spiritual level....the more profound that connection and understanding is then the deeper the level of spiritual realization......simple fact.

What gets my goat in this modern day of politically correct dog shit and so called "spirituality" are all the pseudo spiritualists who speak cheap flowery garbage with no real substance or value and in doing so profess to be someone of repute with something profound to say......it's nonsense!!!

Just talk straight and clear it's easier to understand and even better if you can speak the truth........ then walk the walk if you can......hypocrisy is rife.......show me a person who is free from hypocrisy and you will have a soul who is a very very rare individual indeed!!!

There are too many sharks, fish them for a while and get the numbers down.

BTW....oh yeah!!!....when you actually have been chased down by a shark that has "intent" to take a piece of you, well, there is no romanticising that pure and simple......it's fear and it's not all flowery and lovey dovey.

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Phil Cross commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 5:24pm

Great piece!

I've spent a bit of time out at the Neptune Islands, cage diving with whites. From my completely uneducated observation, they all have differing personalities.

I surmised that mostly the bigger or older whites are tentative or mellow, and would "nudge" the bait first, then a minute or two later they would slowly approach and take the bite. Shy almost.

Where the smaller whites were more aggressive and/or risk-takers, they attacked from the deep, asking questions.later.

But none of this really matters, whether the whites have personalities or are just eating machines.

For years I've surfed around SA where fatal attacks have occurred, and admit that at times I sit on my board praying I get the "nudger".

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Agitator commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 6:03pm

@Phil Cross

All living beings have personalities....as we see a diversity of personalities in human society so we can see a diversity in personalities through all species of life....dogs, cats, horses, birds all animals all creatures....although it might be harder to distinguish that diversity or individuality within lower level species ie; insects, but it will still be there.

There are mongrel personality sharks for sure, you can count on that.

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gggiiibbbo commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 6:01pm

The paragraph after the first sentence is flawless - a beautiful musing on our turning away as a species from nature.
I was in the water at Lennox & the closest surfer to a bloke who was bumped by a shark and had his board bitten in 2015. It was terrifying.
While shark sightings & human/shark interactions In NE NSW/SE QLD have certainly increased in recent years, the chance of ever seeing a shark - let alone being bitten to death by one - as a proportion of surfer/beach visits is still infintesimal.
At least that’s what I’m clinging on to!

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thermalben commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 6:40pm

Drove past Cabarita on the way home from work tonight. Despite clean 3ft lines and forty minutes remaining until last light, there was not a soul in the lineup. I saw couple of familiar faces congregated in the carpark, and dashing across the road on their phone. 

Kinda knew the reason why the lineup was empty.. confirmed ten minutes later when a mate messaged me the latest Dorsal report - apparently a 4-5m Great White (described as a 'tank') swam through the lineup just after 5pm.

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mr mick commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 7:22pm

Bit a surfers foil leaving a tooth as evidence, no one injured.

Mr mick

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Craig commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 7:43pm

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bluediamond commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 11:35pm

Crazy times. A photo posted by Craig of this guys board with a clear shark tooth in it, another encounter on the same day from nearby of a tanker sized shark sending crew in...., any other time in the past would have had crew freaking out, now it doesn't even raise an eyebrow on these forums. Hard to fathom how things have changed so quickly. Sending good vibes to all fellow Swellnet crew to stay safe out there. Keep those instincts honed.

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Albatross commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 8:11pm

We were also chased out of the water south of Pottsville this morning, approx same sized white around 4m...

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dazzler commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 7:11am

Unconfirmed reports it nibbled a foil. Any info?

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thermalben commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 7:18am

Imagery above your post confirms it.

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davetherave commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 6:47pm

thank you everyone for your contributions. so great to see some real good input without righteousness.
agitator, i can fully understand your perspective and yes, we as a species, cannot have the white shark feed on us as we enjoy IT'S ocean.
i have recently also been informed by a long time cactus local that a lot of white shark blood in the water scatters them.
is this a biological inbuilt system to stop them attacking each other?
apex predators,maybe they needed this to stop eating everything including themselves?
worth trying out, i reckon.
surely the science crew can see the validity in that.
as for the disconnect, until you can see all refugees, all immigration, all political viewpoints, all religious viewpoints, all capitalist, socialist, fascist, communist viewpoints as one all encompassing virtual reality, well, lip service.
Until you can embrace all things that come into your life with sincere gratitude, you like me, are a work in progress, and that's okay.
i feel blessed to know all of you,thanks for being in my life.
One lat thing, how many shark attack victims are sea food eaters? the pores of your skin will emit the odor of your diet.

davetherave

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Bluedreams commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 3:26pm

I can’t quote sources but I have read a few times that large whites are known to eat smaller whites. Hopefully someone else can confirm?

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Michael Bourne commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 3:41pm

I mentioned on here that Lincoln shark fisherman/surfer moored in the hole where you jump off the boat to paddle to the break. He hooked a pretty solid one, but it got hit by a giant one and literally half of it was left. Surfing is really addictive though, so surfers kept surfing there.

udo's picture
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udo commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 6:47pm

Faark...
also a large one hammering a bait ball at Mermaid earlier tday.

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Rabbits68 commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 6:56pm

Great read. Cheers CD.

The dynamics of the ocean are constantly changing and evolving along with the various creatures that inhabit it these vast expanses (stating the obvious I know). There are so many factors to consider in relation to those ongoing changes. To gather any real measurable reasons of why white sharks are in greater numbers (if at all), why they are seemingly spending greater periods of time inshore (if they are), having greater numbers of interactions with humans and so on, will take many years to come to be able to answer, if at all, with any clarity IMO. It's hard to gauge where we are at in this timeline to solving any of the mystery surrounding GWS. One thing is pretty certain though, they are a formidable creature when it comes to one on one interaction with a human.

The concept of humans "sharing the ocean environment" with GWS is interesting I reckon. Almost implying a relationship with a certainty of risk. Often gets a mention in these shark forums. Where some humans miss the point with this concept IMO is the cold hard reality that GWS are not interested in sharing, or playing or simply being curious, they are primarily interested in surviving and thriving. We are the ones occasionally playing in the ocean whilst they are the ones living in it 24/7. Therefore the risk of being attacked by a GWS, however small or big you think it is, will always be there. A shark attack would be a truly horrific and frightening event to witness let alone be the victim of and given how rare they are I think this is what sparks so much intense interest, intrigue and ofcourse fear. Most of us are so dulled to the fear of being a victim of any other number of horrific ways to die on a daily basis with far greater risk yet a shark attack seems to be on top of the list for many people, even those that rarely enter the ocean. The ocean environment represents a real lack of control for humans, which is, as CD alluded to, the ultimate double edge sword. Providing wonderful, exhilarating, happy adrenaline rushes but can quickly swing to the frightening, violent, horrific and uncontrollable end of that spectrum without notice.

Pristine

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tango commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 7:11pm

This has to be up for the award for the most reasonable forum discussion in a long time.

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roondog commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 7:12pm

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - review / revise.

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Distracted commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 7:38pm

With the current daily Great White and surfer interactions on the North Coast, be lucky if there are no more attacks this month.

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Spatchcock commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 7:54pm

Fantastic sensible discussion. Reading the dorsal watch reports for NNSW and SEQLD for the last few days is sobering reading. Lots of bait balls and birds at Miami/Mermaid this morning. Overcast and didn't feel right so heeded my intuition and got out early. GWS sighted smashing bait balls at Mermaid later in the day. Perhaps an easy way to get in touch with nature again is simply to heed that sixth sense intuitive gut feelings?

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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 8:11pm

been clean peaks all along the back bank beachies for a week.
no takers.

that was the first thing to go for me.

no way I'm risking my legs for mixed close-outs, although there were a couple of days this autumn/winter with combo swells and offshores that almost made me change my mind.

Is the risk low?

Doesn't seem like it. I know more people that have been attacked by whites than been in car crashes in the last 5 years and if I don't know them, it's only one friend away from someone who does.

that lived experience does change your perspective.

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goofyfoot commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 8:18pm

Agitator can you elaborate on your run in?

I'm always curious when people say they were "chased in" by a shark. Do they just mean they saw a shark close by and quickly went in or something more?
From my understanding if a white shark wants you, it'll get you. There is no chase.
Not doubting your experience Agitator, just want to know what went down.
Cheers

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Albatross commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 11:45pm

Hey Goofy,

Albatross here. I'm based in NSW (Casuarina), been surfing here last 25 years. My experiences are pretty much based on the last 5 years where I've had numerous GWS encounters (more than 15) between Kingscliff to Ballina, the previous 20 years I only really had encounters with bulls and tigers. What I've noticed is there are distinct behavioral differences as GWS go from looker, circler, biter. Generally they have a more passive and cruise orientated swim at the looker phase, this movement becomes more more intense with tighter radius and shorter distances where they observe you in circle mode, also noticed at this stage its a cat and mouse thing happening where they know if they are being watched through your body language (when eyes are off them or your body turns away they close up distance very quickly), when they commit to bite speed increases significantly pectorals point down, they have a completely different movement (basically looks like they are committed), they come in hot and most of the time peel off last minute (thats happened on all occasions to me). The GWS south of Pottsville this morning was not cruising, came back a number of times in shorter distances, was in circler mode deciding whether to commit to bite. All this means nothing if its ambush, Rob, Mani, Nick (RIP) did not see it, not much you can do for ambush. I do believe that if you see the GWS its very unlikely that they will commit to bite if you do a few things to stop them escalating through that whole look, circle bite process they seem to have. The GWS that took Rob bumped someone out front here (800m south) immediately before the attack so it was already in bite mode i reckon. Tmrw will be another anxiety laden surf here...I have young kids under 7 yrs and a single dad....outta control..really questioning the risk profile each day....today I turned away from my normal spot further south and went out at caba because there was no none out and it just seemed irresponsible to the kids to go out there...then that tank GWS rolled through caba point lol

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goofyfoot commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 6:21am

Thank you Albatross

That’s exactly the kind of explanation I was looking for. It wasn’t that I thought people were talking it up, I just had no idea of what actually happens. Eg the looker, circler, biter.
Your number of encounters are scary. That’s fricking crazy.
Stay safe!

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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 8:25pm

not speaking for Agitator, but there is often circling and approaches beforehand.....as the shark sizes you up as prey.

From the drone footy and shark scientists obs on sharks it seems there is a clear difference between a shark in cruise mode, one in investigative mode and one that is gearing up for a hit.

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peabo commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 8:28pm

The idea of seeing multiple sharks a year is blowing my mind.

Been surfing on and off in Vic In for 24 years and have never seen one. Hope it stays that way.

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ringmaster commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 8:40pm

You can bet your house a few have seen you though.

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udo commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 8:36pm

This month marks 20 yrs since the attacks on Jevan Wright and Cameron Bayes
In Sth Oz waters ..Elliston and Cactus a day apart hit by big GWS and both Full Consumption.

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roondog commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 10:07pm

Remember this all to well, I was at Blackfellas

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Solitude commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 8:23am

What a beautifully measured and thoughtful piece. Thank you. I particularly enjoyed lack of personal opinion and speculation that is often woven into these discussions.

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Rabbits68 commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 8:45pm

"Is the risk low?

Doesn't seem like it. I know more people that have been attacked by whites than been in car crashes in the last 5 years and if I don't know them, it's only one friend away from someone who does.

that lived experience does change your perspective."

C'mon Freedride, you're always the first one in line when it comes to bagging anyone that dares compare motor vehicle accidents Vs shark attacks numbers. I completely understand your emotional response given your lived experience but you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Pristine

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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 9:03pm

I use that example specifically for that reason: people always say, "oh the risk of car accident is so much higher" etc etc.

I know more people who've been hit by whites than have been in car crashes in the last 5 years.

It's an attempt to put that risk into some kind of relatable perspective.

Before 2015, I knew no-one.

Example, I'm delivering bread on Tuesday. One of the chefs I'm pally with had a bread size chunk of flesh taken out his back by a white days before Tadashi was taken.
The wedding singer at his party was the Dad of Mani who got killed at Wooli and his Mum is pals with my mates wife.
I run into Grimace who got hit at Shelly or Sam working at the airport who got hit at North wall.

they add up.

my mate pulls in to the carpark , he was pals with Nick Slater.

It's not really academic any more.

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Rabbits68 commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 9:29pm

"It's an attempt to put that risk into some kind of relatable perspective."

Yes, some kind of relatable perspective. Fair enough. We all need to find that reason or perspective to justify or stop us from taking certain risks, so whatever works I guess. You clearly spend way more time in the ocean than I do from what I can gather and in some pretty sketchy parts at present. Good luck.

Pristine

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billie commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 8:51pm

Who the hell names their child "Carcharodon Dundee"?

Please don't answer me "Mr and Mrs Dundee"

Billie

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fishnsurf commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 8:57pm

Humans disconnect from nature might be the ultimate wake up call for our entire mortality. Natural beings thinking they are beyond nature is only going to end one way.
I met a guy in NZ years ago who said his father told him when the sharks come to the surface it will be the end of the world.

Surf ingredients

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Agitator commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 7:34pm

Monday morning 14th September Racecourse point around 9 to 9:15am. Clear cloudless sky light 7 kn ssw wind mid tide going out with small waist high swell, water had a pale lime green tinge to it with fair visibility.

3 guys went out around 7:45am and surfed the inside part of the point that was breaking on a wider sand bank away from the rocks....waves were fat/inconsistent as the tide had only recently turned and was running out...noticed the odd wave breaking on the outside tip/rock of the point and running along the inside edge of the bank all the way through and conclude it may get a little better with less water so decide to wait and watch for a while. 8:45 ish a man, his wife and their 2 kids went out and sat on the same inside wide bank as the other 3 guys had been surfing...a lone old fellow went out on a log at the same time and sat slightly further out than the other group but still on the same inside wide section of the point...3 other guys also made their way out at this time but paddled out to the tip of the point which by now started to show a little more consistency with the dropping tide and I thought I'd better hit it now as it seemed to be improving.

Had caught 2 waves and was on an 8ft glider (only my second surf on the thing) sitting off the tip of the point in about 4 feet of water, about 3 to 4 mtrs from the outside rocks. Had been talking to the three guys out at the tip of the point with me about the current shark situation and how I always look for people to surf with now, gone are the days of seeking out isolation. Ironically one of the guys pointed to the little nook of sand between some rocks about 5 mtrs to our right from where we were sitting and said if he saw a shark that is where he would head to. A few minutes passed and I was scoping everywhere, below, to the left and toward the horizon while also looking for waves..... then I saw it pop up....about 45 mtrs away a big black fin....looked vaguely triangular....seemed to shift and move toward us, all happened in a flash and then it was gone. What was it??? was it a dolphin, was it a shark??? Mind was racing....freaking..... FIN FIN I called to the other guys as I simultaneously turned 90 degrees to my right and stroked hard to hit that little pocket of sand amongst the rocks 5 mtrs from me.....I was just about on the sand, had jumped off my board and was in calf deep water.....it had only taken me a matter of seconds to move from when I saw the fin to reach my current position, I turned to my left 180 degrees to look back at where I had paddled from and saw the fin (about 8 inches or so out of the water) 10 mtrs from me travelling at high speed straight at me!!!! It then went under water when about 5 mtrs from me in around 4 foot of water (exactly where I had been sitting) and did a hard 90 degree turn westward toward shore and swam off down the line underwater along the edge of the bank/point before disappearing. It seemed about 8 foot long.....the other 3 guys were all scrambling over the rocks as well and they had seen it all and seemed pretty freaked also....we motioned to the rest of the crew further in down the point but they didn't seem to acknowledge what we were saying. Coincidentally at that very same time two dolphins surface about 80 mtrs away and heading north, so it's possible the other crew further in saw the dolphins and weren't concerned. Fucked if I know but whoever said if you see dolphins you don't have to worry about sharks certainly didn't know what they were on about.

So yeah I got chased out of the water and it's only because the safety of that little pocket of sand was so close that we all went for it. I have read GG shark files and know he says confront them and don't flee.....but hey!, what would you have done in my situation???, waited around to see what it was first???

It's obvious the thing had made a bee line for us when it first popped up and luckily I saw it first.......... it may have been a completely different scenario if I hadn't of.

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Albatross commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 12:54am

That's a full on Agitator. Just on the whole confrontation thing, I can share this...

I was surfing south west rocks last year (Winter water temp, 10-15m visibility, 4-6ft south swell with SW winds), won't name the location lets just say it wasn't town beach and we were the only two people in the water. This particular beach gets heaps of swell and develops that typical double bar with massive gutter set up, so we were a good 150m out surfing the outer bank on a lowish tide.

After 1 hr I get spooked, I dont know exactly why I just became very heightened to my surroundings and felt very unsafe, I kept scanning constantly. I yelled at my mate that I felt unsure if we should stay out, he was about 70m north on the same bank. 5 mins later I see it, my mate sees it, big disturbance in the water and large car sized silhouette (but no visible fin) 50m away in deeper water. I get his attention, he does the same, we both acknowledge there is a really large GWS in looker mode, he gets the last set wave in, no waves on my section of the bank it's a long period south swell. 1 min later I see it again this time coming in slightly faster....closes up to within 25m...now swimming parallel to me...its big...about 4m... hanging under the surface, fin now visible, still no waves. At this point I freeze and fear becomes overwhelming, I actually cant believe this is real, I lose sight of it, I basically resign myself to the fact that this is going down and is happening, It's more than interested...it's going to commit at some point and I'm 150m out...in a lull... with a massive gutter to cross....basically I'm F&#ked.....

Then I think of my kids and a heap of other stuff in my life, I decide to deal with it however i can , to fight... I'm thinking that I have no other options than;

- Do something to break its behavior in committing to bite, make it clear I'm not a normal part of the local food chain / environment. I remember reading that GWS's do not like aggression in their prey, puts them off..
- If it comes in committed use my board (regretting taking 5 ' 10 now) to keep a buffer between me and the bite, try and get it off axis when I comes in.
- Last case fight go for the eyes, snout , go for anything in the short time while its dealing with my board

Less than 30 secs later I see it coming in faster than the previous two times, from the east.... the GWS is back lit which makes it harder to see... about 30m away. I know whats coming..... I paddle towards it, I have no other option but to try make it question whats going on. I paddle at 30%, with purpose...I'm too scared to paddle any faster... My plan is to do this and stop when it's about 10m away, let it close up the last 5m while I position the board ready to deal with it. I'm trying to get the timing right with how fast its going which is difficult, I'm concentrating so hard now, adrenaline going crazy, I'm really afraid but not so fearful that I can't take action... ready to fight.. it actually feels surreal... I notice set waves coming.

GWS keeps coming, at a constant speed. I stop paddling when its 10m away, Then with 5-6m to go it turns sharp 90 degrees. I freak out but keep my body pointing towards it, it's swimming away as quick as it came in.

Set wave stands up, I catch it and prone it in, sprint paddle across the gutter looking back constantly. This part was worse than the encounter out the back.

I'm white as a sheet when I hit the sand, shaking. My mates seen it all.

Surfed at South West after that but have never surfed that particular stretch of beach since.

Moving aggressively towards the GWS did seem to do something, maybe it would have peeled off if I remained static, I dont know....

One thing I do know from this encounter is that GWS's absolutely know when they are being watched and they dont like it... this thing was moving towards me when my body turned and then moved away when I faced it...

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simba commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 6:43am

Albatross ,great story mate and thankfully it worked out for you, well done.Its so primal,which is the thing a lot of people dont understand is that they are hunting us.We are out there having a good time ,they are out there looking for there next meal.

simba

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Craig commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 7:14am

Wow, very intense but great info to know and it seems like many a times, if the GWS knows you can see it and take it on slightly, it will turn away. Frightening.

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udo commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 11:44am

Bit different if your underwater in a Shark cage eyeballing them ?
i guess there in a feed / frenzy mode due to Burleying ?

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aussieguy commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 9:17am

That's heavy and frightening Albatross. Glad to hear you've been able to get back in the water.

Question: I'm wondering what factors cause the shark to move from looker to biter? Guess that's for the research boys and girls. Unless they're going full consumption, I can't see a human providing a good feed for a shark. I understand exploratory bites (like what happened to that Port Macquarie woman) but how do you explain Nick's (RIP) Greenmount attack? Hopefully sharks aren't starting to see us as mobile snacks.

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bluediamond commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 11:32am

Possibly competition around schools of fish? Maybe even just all juiced up from feeding on fish and will have a go at anything. Unlucky if that happens to be a surfer paddling by.

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batfink commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 5:21pm

What factors cause the shark to go from looker to biter? I’d reckon that if it could find no reason not to become a biter, it becomes a biter. It’s looking for food, almost all the time unless it’s recently gorged on a whale. But it probably doesn’t take a lot for it to think ‘not worth the trouble’ or ‘doesn’t look edible’.

Of course I’m anthropomorphising, but they are primal creatures and have survived a hell of a long time. Caution is built into it. Facing up to it, and looking at it, seems as good an idea as any.

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zenagain commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 5:31pm

When I was a young fella I remember talking to this old crusty sea-dog who'd been all over Oz and practically the world chasing waves. He told me once he was being buzzed by a big white (I forget the state so let's just say QLD) and as the shark seemed more intent and got ready to charge him, his adrenalin took over and he lost his temper, put his head underwater and roared at it. According to him, it turned 90 degrees, eyeballed him and then slunk off.

As to the truth of his story, I can't say but when faced with the unfaceable and limited options, you'd have to try anything and may in someway add credence to what you're saying above BF.

1173

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batfink commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 5:21pm

Just. Frightening. Albatross.

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goofyfoot commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 6:35am

Agitator that’s full on, it must of been hammering to get to you so quick.
Crazy stuff

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Montygoesbananas commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 3:30pm

Sharky spot there, if you mean Racecourse Beach north of Port M, south of Crescent H. Had an encounter at Delicates 3 years ago, I didn't spot it but the other guys we were chatting too did and all made a b line in on the next wave which i missed. The feeling of knowing there is one out there and you are the last one looking for a wave in was not fun. Sure a lot of guys on here have probably had a similar experience. My mate who was just about to paddle out that day said he had seen a big one out there several years prior, so a sharky spot no doubt.

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Phil Cross commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 11:05pm

Thanks udo, I remember these attacks on Jevan and Cameron with great sadness, both were around my age at the time and both completely consumed. In each case they found only fragments of their boards. RIP.

In part 16 & 17 of Jevan's coroners report it says:

Pt 16 Mr Geoff Wright, Jevan’s father, made a number of very sensible observations
about the frequency of shark attacks, and ways in which this phenomenon might
be minimised, although none of these suggestions were strictly relevant to the
circumstances of Jevan’s death. They related more to tuna farming in Boston
Bay, and salmon fishing.

Pt 17 In relation to Jevan’s death, he was taken by a shark without warning, and
despite an extensive search, neither Jevan’s body nor the shark involved was
located afterwards. In those circumstances, I see little point in making
recommendations about how Jevan’s death might have been avoided. All
experienced surfers, particularly people who surf on the West Coast of South
Australia, must be aware of the risk, however remote, of shark attack. I very
much doubt that any further warning or other preventative measure will reduce
the likelihood that such an event will happen again. In those circumstances, I
make no recommendation pursuant to Section 25(2) of the Coroners Act.

I had been surfing Blacks only a few weeks prior and stopped surfing the SA west coast for a number years after.

It's hard to fathom the size of these whites, commonly the length of whites is reported, but it's the girth that amazes. I like to compare them to the size of an old VN commodore, and then add the 3 foot fins to the side doors.

Surfing is dangerous. Educate.

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velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 11:41pm

That was well written Mr Dundee.

"Now is time for us to accept the ongoing presence of white sharks and learn to accept them with grace"

Pretty much - there's a bloke in South Africa who free dives with them and has worked out rules on how to read them and stay alive - eye contact is a biggie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDCAT9mQzJg

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Michael Bourne commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 12:24am

Funny what the mind can do. It was and is always a part of our surfing. It would shock all of us if we knew how many time we had been buzzed. One of the things that 'The Kid', Beadham would talk about is how little we could see, compared to where he was from. I surfed over there with him, so know what he meant.

I had 2 known cases of a sub, and a station wagon park meters behind me, for some time, without me even knowing., and one mid size. One was sitting a long way out on a fickle wave off a small island with Johnny Neutron. His brother was aiming to be a top gun pilot, and was flying with Dom in the new Cessna up and down the coast. When he started buzzing and strafing us, we just thought he was fucking around with us, so completely ignored him. Later, as we drove back to town, he intercepted us on the highway, speeding out there. He went ballistic at us, telling us that in the deep hole, where you have to sit on the edge of, to catch the peak, the biggest sub sized fish he had seen was circling us, going between us, around us, and at one stage hovered directly behind me. We didn't even know, and were having a deluxe surf. The other one they saw from the cliff, same thing. As I kicked off, a right hander, and then sat in the channel watching the guy on the next wave, they said it, a station wagon, swam right up behind me and just hovered there for a while, before racing off. Once on a small, oily, beautiful night, all we saw after the sub had pushed Spud Garnell several metres across the water, was the huge tail slowly disappearing into the gloom. We had to paddle across the deep bay, listening to every splash and ripple. The very next morning spud got trapped outside a gutter at locks, as a station wagon cruised it from end to end. The guy on the cliff was helpless, and trying to signal him where it was. In the end they both lost sight of it and he had to make the bolt in. He didn't surf for a couple of weeks. It wasn't me two days in a row, so I just kept surfing. I got hit really hard from underneath paddling at one notorious spot, moon was coming up, lifted up out of the water. I told the other two, and we had to bolt across the lagoon in. I had a huge dent in the bottom of the board, we tried to convince ourselves it could have been a seal.

I was first in the water after Jevan. There were people on the cliff, so some feeble attempt at comfort. The most fucked surf I've ever had. After decades of success, I just couldn't stop my mind. I was kicking off half way down, and risked getting picked off trying to hug the wave zone. The paddle in was horrific, the last run across the deep channel took for ever. I had so much adrenaline I was frozen on the little beach, and couldn't climb the cliff.

My wife and kids freaked every time I went surfing. My youngest son's teacher showed me painting he had done. It was entitled 'Stupid surfer gets eaten by shark'. We moved to Ballina for a few years for peace for the wife and kids. I absolutely loved the relaxed feeling of surfing anywhere, free from any thoughts of sharks at all. Junior T joined me for a while, and we used to laugh at the locals' shark stories. We paddled backward and forward across the river, desperately looking for decent surf. We told everyone back home what a buzz it was just to have no thought of sharks at all. In the end, the surf ground us down, and we bolted back. The mind is a classic. We'd no sooner moved back, and the attacks and buzzings started. I used to sit out at the end of angels, and speeds, lennox, till well after dark, warm, at ease and relaxed. We'd no sooner moved back, and the attacks and buzzings all started. I still sometimes think, WTF?

The tuna farming was the biggest change. Training them to come to boats. All the fisherman and divers saw and felt the change. Motors alone call them. Then the charters further trained them. It was always russian roulette for me, but I had some deluxe mind games going. After every one of them got dismantled, ala the four minute mile barrier, I've got a new game plan. The place where they eat any shark that dares enter the bay, even the big tigers, and the smiling locals fearlessly swim all around the huge bay herding flying fish into nets, even before the sun comes up and after dark.

Surfing is a very costly addiction, you play, you have to pay.

'Stupid surfer gets eaten by shark', from the mouths of babes.

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kooklife commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 6:37am

Well Written piece and Great discussion, lots of thought provoking statements and stories....also nice play on words in the authors name....."Carcharadon" = GWS

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Fliplid commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 7:03am

Great read B,CD,DSDS, not only for the content but also for the comments after. You always seem to spark a good discussion

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Agitator commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 3:47pm

@goofyfoot and @Albatross

Seeing the fin pop was alarming and I had an initial gut feeling it was a shark. The part that was the most freaky for me was when I was nearly on that little patch of sand and in just below knee level water, when I turned around and saw the fin so close and moving so fast toward me it was kind of a surreal moment, a combination of emotions, fear, alarm, shock, awe, disbelief all rolled into one at the same instant. I was actually wondering in that moment before it turned away if it was going to launch itself onto the sand to get to me...all happened so quick, yet all so clear in the mind's eye.

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Rabbits68 commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 10:46am

Freaky story Agitator. Glad it worked out well for you & others who have shared their incredible stories.

When Ken Crew (RIP) was attacked at Cottesloe, apparently the shark immediately turned on another swimmer who scrambled onto a section of near dry reef with the shark almost stranding itself in its attempt to get this swimmer.

Pristine

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Albatross commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 12:35pm

That's heavy Agitator ... sounds like it was fully committed in shallow water which is probbaly the worst scenario.. glad you got through that encounter... it seems once they commit to bite there are very few things which can change that...and thats what I was worried about in my encounter being so far out without any hope of getting away... both our encounters involve a sighting before the GWS approach...it seems all the recent fatalities are total ambush.. this mornings surf on the Tweed Coast was not relaxing

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wax-on-danielson commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 7:46am

https://www.greenpeace.org.au/blog/5-alternatives-to-shark-nets/

Don't know how much 2 & 4 cost but you would think they work well together

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wax-on-danielson commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 7:48am

Apparently seafood exports are down a lot due to "the virus" so maybe helping fish numbers increase

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wally commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 8:14am

Next time you see an apex predator nosing up to you, just handle it like these blokes.

https://twitter.com/johnfloreani/status/1306135212472979457?s=21

Craig's picture
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Craig commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 8:19am

Wow, that's real?

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lostdoggy commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 8:27am

That croc and bloke are familiar with each other and seem to be fond of each other too.

It has half a bottom jaw.

Still a great vid and fucken funny.

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wally commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 9:05am

The croc is known as Bone Crusher and he is missing a good bit of his bottom jaw. The chap, Matt Wright, is a professional croc wrangler. He knows the croc well.

https://www.facebook.com/mattwrightaustralia/videos/my-good-mate-bone-cr...

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Craig commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 9:08am

Aghh I see.

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wally commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 9:19am

I didn’t know the back story when I posted the link. It’s a good vid though.

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udo commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 8:25am

Toothless

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Dan K commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 9:40am

Dorsal FB page report from an hr ago of 3.5m White at Caba.
It's a little confusing as it's dated from yesterday and posted this morning but appears it's a different incident from "the tank" sighting or the foil bite incident. It says report was around 4:30pm (so before the other two reported after 5pm). Surfers quote "it appeared out of nowhere to the left of me. So close I could see the eye and head with pec fin gliding underneath me".

So that's 3 separate interactions (one an actual bite to a foil) over 1hr at varying times at the same break. On face value it seems like this shark at Caba is pretty interested at the moment.

Just a separate observation I'm not sure if it's been noted but it's been mentioned that boat interactions seem to be some sort of confusion with electro-magnetic waves from outboards having them take an inquisitive bite on props, which seems to happen quite a lot.
Has this actually been proven or just the "most likely reason".
If you are a shark and part of your diet consists on dead whales from time to time would there not be that confusion of seeing the bottom of a boat with those ribbed patterns which look very much like a whale underbelly? And the extensions of a whale is its fins and tail, where the extension of a boat is its outboard/prop (which to a shark could be mistaken for the extension of a whale, eg fins etc) hence the reason they seem to grab onto that part of a boat regularly......

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Craig commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 10:10am

Interesting new findings in this just released study..

Comparing distributions of white, bull, and tiger sharks near and away from the surf break using three tech-based methods

Key Points..

  • Sharks detected away from the surf break do not correspond to detections nearshore.
  • SMART drumlines do not prevent sharks moving near to surf breaks.
  • Acoustic receivers often detect sharks that do not move near the surf breaks.
  • No environmental predictors explained white, bull, or tiger sharks being nearshore.
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gsco commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 10:38am

This link also seems interesting and the pdf is publicly available:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324989590_Environmental_correla...

Key findings in the abstract:
- ... revealed seasonal and inter-annual abundance trends that differ between white and whaler sharks.
- Overall, sea surface temperatures (SSTs), years with SSTs colder or warmer than the long-term average, El Niño events, moon illumination, and beach length influenced the abundance of shark groups tested.
- White shark abundance was highest during water temperatures of ~17−18°C and declined when SST increased above 19°C.
- Whaler abundance increased with higher SSTs.
- Shark abundance was higher during El Niño events than during La Niña, although the number of whalers caught was highest during neutral phases.
- All groups showed a decrease in the number of catches with increasing moon illumination and higher abundance on longer beaches.
- These results may aid public safety methods aimed at reducing human−shark encounters by highlighting when higher numbers of sharks may occur.

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simba commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 11:15am

Well great document and thanks for posting gsco, as its from 1992 till 2016.....

" with previous research reporting highest white shark catches from September to November between 1950 and 2010 in the SMP (Reid etal. 2011). Reid et al. (2011) reported that the majority of whites caught from 1990 to 2010 in the SMP were juveniles (<3 m). Satellite tagged juvenile whitesharks travel through this section of coast during the austral spring and summer (Bruce & Bradford 2012).Inter-annual catches of white sharks showed a linear increase over the whole study period (Fig. 6b). Reidet al. (2011) reported that white shark catches in the NSW SMP decreased substantially from 1970 to the mid-1990s and then increased from the late 1990s to 2009. Here we show that the catch has continued to increase over the 23 yr period modelled (Fig. 6b: from−2 to +2). This is equivalent to an increase of 0.17sharks or 4% yr−1, which is within the 2−6% increasemodelled for white sharks recovering from popula-tion depletion in Western Australia (Braccini et al.2017). White sharks have been listed as a ‘vulnera-ble’ species in Australia since 1999, although re -creational and commercial fishing remain ongoing.

simba

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velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 1:28pm

Good quote, there's the rate of increase.

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Distracted commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 10:37am

None of that sounds really encouraging!
Do they satellite tag every shark they catch on the Smart Drumlines or just acoustic tag? Curious what the sharks do once caught on the Smart drum line, do they take off or hang around.

Anyone know what the shark boat does once the sharks are tagged? Do they run them out to sea before releasing them or do they tag and release on the spot?

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 10:48am

I guess the obvious caveat to that study is -are Smart drumlines reducing the overall amount of large sharks that would be inshore.

So there may be no correlation according to the Drone Surveillance, but if the drone picked up x sharks with drum lines, would there have been x+n sharks in the surf zone otherwise?

Ie the hypothesis that Smart drums reduce the risk of large sharks being in the surf zone and hence reduce risk of shark attack is not really annulled by that study.

It also doesn't alter the fact that on days with reduced vis or when drones can't fly that smart drums are still providing real-time data about the local abundance of (mostly) white sharks.

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 10:41am

They run them out, I think a K, maybe more.

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tiger commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 11:11am

Great article and ensuing comments here gents, that genuinely reflect the current situation on east coast.
The ocean used to be a dangerous place, rightly or wrongly earlier generations made it a safer place, now through species protection it is becoming a dangerous place again.
It seems really unclear how the powers that be are going to respond to it, beyond pushing more " research".
Let's face it the Australia we live in today is very different to the one we grew up on. The beach/ ocean lifestyle was synonymous with Australia back then, and any threat to it was taken very seriously.
Nowadays with the natural world disconnect of society, and cultural change, that lifestyle is maybe perceived flippant. The vast majority of people just view nature through their phone, and reserve the right to be outraged at whatever is currently "threatened". Their answer is stay out of the water, and could be the path the powers that be take.
Hopefully we as water users can be recognised and some kind of workable response can be implemented. But it's going to take a while to mobilise and activate any action, so we'll be on our own for a few years yet.
The only fast responses are going to be some kind of cull, or banning water usage. I can't see the former happening, and I sure as shit don't want to see the latter happening.
Surely there is room for more exploration into deterrants, as well as camouflage. And in the meantime I'm drawing eyes on the bottom of all my boards.

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GuySmiley commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 11:58am

What an excellent article and discussion. I've read and reread many contributions. That disconnect between man and nature comment is something I have also reflected on over the years.

I've only ever seen one shark when a mate and I were surfing a deep water outer reef. Its massive triangular fin stood well over a foot out of the water as it cruised passed us very slowly about 100 metres further out to sea. Having watched it turned around back towards we caught the next wave in on our bellies and then paddled hard across the deep water channel between the outer reef and the beach.

Ive surfed mostly on the MP for the last two decades and lots over the reefs at the mouth of WP. All these reefs have small take off zones and can therefore get crowded very quickly and because of that I used to paddle out in the grey light before dawn. No more, one particular reef just spooked me so often, seals, dolphins, schools of fish exploding on the surface in the black before dawn .... and the morning I was surfing it in the dark before dawn when two surfers paddled 1/2 way out and stopped for what seemed 15 - 20 minutes all the while I caught several waves. In the end they paddled out as some colour filled the sky. They weren't relaxed and nervously looking around as they asked me if I had seen it, Seen what I said. According to them there was a shark in the lineup with me, visible on the waves as they peaked and even in waves I caught, right there, big, just metres from me and I hadn't seen it. I still surf this reef but never early and never by myself.

These reefs sit between Seal Rocks on the Island and Cape Schanck both known GW locations. I've talked to many abalone divers over the years who dive these areas and the stories they have to tell make your hair stand on end. They often talk about having a sense that things aren't right and often that sinking feeling they get proves correct. It would be interesting to hear from commercial divers here.

Lastly, a story from a mate who is no longer here. We were surfing another reef in the area protected by cliffs from the needed NW and I'd had enough and caught one in. Old mate and a few others surfed on until a GW at full speed just below the surface, displacing water like a submerged submarine, swam straight through them and out the back. As my mate recalled we all thought one of us was dead, it was a massive shark.

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frog commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 1:13pm

Nicely written story and sentiments that brings home the reality of what we face. But the "wow factor" for me are some of those stories of close encounters and the frequency of interactions told above by readers.

Even sitting safely in a comfy office over lunch I am on edge with a slight churn in my tummy after reading them. They are super serious events and make me really wonder about the future of surfing if the trend continues and even my willingness to surf a whole range of places I would have considered safe. Some of those stories go well beyond something you can shrug off and discuss dispassionately.

After 47 years of surfing my personal tales of shark encounters are pretty much nil. But a comment above on a shark being stationary checking things out prompts one tale.

Once I was at an empty beachbreak with very clear water and no weed. I always scan out of habit and have a pretty good idea of what is in the water around me. At one point I noticed a large stationary oblong shaped patch of what I assumed was seaweed about 10 metres away. It was just far enough away and in deeper water so that it was indistinct. It never moved for the 10 seconds or so I stared at it and so I was sure it was seaweed and stopped looking at it and focussed back on the waves. After that, I caught more waves then at one point I looked around that area again and there was nothing. Just sand.

It was sunny, a familiar beach and felt safe so I surfed for another hour. But ever since I have pondered on the sighting and concluded that it was unlikely to have been seaweed. The size and general shape was approximately that of a GW. However, most video shows them always moving. However, maybe it was a large GW that moved in and sat checking me out before moving on? Has anyone observed that behaviour?

My story is a classic "shrug off" maybe sighting story that invokes no fear to tell or read. I hope I don't face the other sort.

Frogg

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Dan K commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 1:51pm

If it were a shark it sounds more like a decent sized Grey Nurse. Only reason I say that is when spearfishing those fuckers can pretty much sit stationary in the water column for what seems like forever.

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velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 1:56pm

Do we have any data on what's happening to the other species of sharks now the GWS are increasing? Are we seeing more grey nurses, whalers, tigers, bulls etc?

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factotum commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 11:35am

Carcharodon Dundee (get it, get it?)!

I wonder how the old devil horns and soft mewling (what purring noise does a White make/like?) would go face-to-face with a GWS?

Apart from the Jordan Peterson Award for stating the bleeding obvious (Western human's increasing disconnect from nature?! Get outta here!), the rest is a pretty plain and uncontroversial position...up to a point...

Then maybe outside of SA (Oz and Africa), it isn't...

Well, duh! reading the comments, that's obvious.

What a revelation!

I say South Oz specifically, because if you're of a certain age...actually, even if you're not...growing up surfing with tales of Alf Dean, Big Fred, the numerous sightings, encounters, and deaths, the cultural baggage as it were, well, it's in a SA surfers DNA.

The 'radical' position put forward by Dundee has been the default one for the majority of Saladas since surfing kicked off.

As the other Mick (the SA one) says above, the mind is a major battleground. What are the individual strategies for coping/doing battle?

Because we've seen the collective ones!

The town/area/state I'm in now lost its collective mind when the unprecedented attacks happened over a number of years.

The fear-and-vote-driven, appeasing, and immediate government response was to catch and shoot a whole bunch of sharks...yet not one GWS.

The next government in took a more nuanced approach, with a range of different mitigating measures put in place. Did they work?

Well, the only sure thing that has happened is that minds have changed, and behaviours with it. Human behaviours.

Jeez, even the bulk of commentary here, dare I say most of it non-South Australian and mostly Eastern States, has changed.

Where are the 'kill 'em all/cull some of them' voices?

Apart from that Agitated bloke fond of too many actual ellipses...............(stylistically reminiscent of our regular and one & only sweet dude. Didn't he mention PC or some such bollocks too?)

FR76 has touched on the 'realpolitik' though. What happens when the next incident occurs and there's a death? Imagine if it's a kid! What will be the community and thus government response?

And it absolutely depends on the government alignment. Shit, environmentally, one side still doesn't think climate change is that much of a thing!

A last musing:

Is surfing here heading towards a more macho, Hemingwayan, existential pursuit? Death in the Afternoon for real??

Not at Chopes or Jaws (!), or rather Shippies and The Right as before - man (physically and mentally) vs wave - but versus beast as well at say, Cabarita!

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 2:46pm

hahahahah.......mate that is one of the beautiful ironies which is worth meditating on when it comes to the "nature connection" theme.

I'm surrounded by bulldozers and soccer mums driving new Q7's yet a good cricket balls toss seaward are baby food spots that I won't surf because the chance of a drive-by from a teenaged white is just all too real.

That feeds into the other (delicious) irony: that during the Morning of the Earth era, when supposedly the flower of surfers living in harmony with nature was in full bloom, surfers were playing in an ocean so denuded of predators as to be unnaturally benign.

Almost a man-made playground, scrubbed clean of risk.

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factotum commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 3:56pm

Add 'em to the paradox list, FR76.

I'm still wrapping my head around the fact of our immersion in nature whilst riding the toxic height of human unnaturalness.

Wavepools are the future!?

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factotum commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 3:59pm

Actually, does Cactus count in your Morning of the Earth east coast scenario?

Ask Reno and Gerry?

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 4:07pm

Cactus fits the South Oz scenario of a "war within yourself" don't it?

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factotum commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 4:11pm

Absolutely!

And chuck in a wave like Blackfellas, and see the human results on land!

What a sociological study!

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ringmaster commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 5:24pm

Over around 40 years of surfing I've never had a close encounter with a GW or any large shark (that I'm aware of). Surfed most of the dubious places for GW's in Vic and the obligatory Cactus trips before surfing overseas and was never that fussed about em' back then.

In 95' I spent June/July in Sth Africa on a road trip starting in Capetown. By the time we'd got to JBay we were amped as the forecast looked good for waves. We arrived around an hour before dark and went straight to the Supers car park and there it was. Headhigh plus perfect JBay runners and about 15 out. We watched for a while then went to find somewhere to stay.

Fast forward to 10pm that night and we're in the carpark watching it under the brightest full moon. No one around. Someone said "it's bright enough to surf out there" and half an hour later we're on the rocks waiting to jump in.

Ended up surfing for just over an hour and apart from difficulty positioning for take off, once you were up and riding you could clearly see for about 30 metres down the line. We all got some great waves but we we're also shitting bricks quietly, no more than when you flicked off down the end of Supers and started the lonely, dark paddle up the line. I clearly remember being aware of the sound of my hands breaking the water on my paddle strokes and each of us calling out to each other at regular intervals.

The 3 of us came in at the same time pumped and full of adrenaline. When we got up to the car park there were a couple of local blokes there and once they realised we were tourists they teed off on us. Basically saying how fucken stupid we were and that it was a known GW haunt. Also made it clear that if we'd been attacked/killed it would have a big negative impact on their community. We apologised and just said we were so amped to be there that we couldn't even wait for the next day. We went to our new pad and crashed determined to be up for the dawny.

Back then it just never seemed real that it might happen to you. The amount of close encounters and attacks on surfers in the past 15 years or so in all parts of Aus as well as over there and places like Mauritius etc often makes me think how stupid we were that night. (and then there was the Mick Fanning incident!) Just dumb luck nothing bad happened.

Reading the stories above is pretty confronting because you now realise it can happen at all surf zones in Aus and nowhere is out of bounds for these prehistoric but majestic creatures.

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amb commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 4:35pm

@factotum did you know the WC local called Shak Bait?

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factotum commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 11:37am

Everyone did, amb. Poor bugger died in a car crash!

I reckon I saw as many sharks in South Africa in 3 months, than pretty much all my years in South Oz! Well, defo in such a relatively equivalent short space of time.

False Bay, lifeguard lost a foot! J-Bay bumping (not me!) that cleared the water...for 30 minutes. Big white cruising beachie between St Francis and Seal Point (decided to flag it. Wasn't that good!) Big bull shark caught and pulled up just after we got out the water at Port Alfred. Only us 3 blokes surfing a perfect point beginning with a silent L all day, then seeing wild thrashing and splashing and flashes of white belly whilst getting changed after last session. Finally, seeing the full shark week style breach on the ferry coming back from Robben Island.

Scariest thing though was still being feet away from the biggest fucking lion I've ever seen losing its shit, roaring and charging, behind flimsy chicken wire!
And I got a photo! Like a muthafucken war photographer!

Love that place.

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amb commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 2:52pm

@factotum, I was only a young lad when I met him and too scared to ask about the name (he was a bit of a psycho and didn't much like townies), can you enlighten us on what happened (I believe survived multiple attacks?)

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Craig commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 3:42pm
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amb commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 4:05pm

heavy!

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bluediamond commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 5:06pm

I met Phil when i was a grom at the Penong pub. In recounting the tale, i clearly remember him saying 'it roared like a lion'. Never forgot that.

amb's picture
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amb commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 5:14pm

was there more than one attack? (ones more than enough I know)

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bluediamond commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 5:31pm

At least two...but maybe more?

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bonza commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 8:40pm

I’d like to see a cost benefit analysis for all the options for white shark mitigation including cull.
Who should pay. Why should they pay. Who benefits. Who doesn’t. Is it fair.

• Use the data we have.
• Detail the methods - their results and any potential bias – e.g. do shark nets work (or don’t) because maybe there simply wasn’t any white sharks 20+ years ago?
• Explain the above limitations for each application –e.g. will a cull work on what new evidence shows to be a highly mobile population. Are nets / drum lines realistic for smaller populations.
• Include the value of the non-target kill rate – not just the economic value of a dead whale / dolphin caught in a net for the tourism sector but the ecological value of a threatened marine species. Or the removal of an apex predator in a marine food web system.
• Include the value of a near-non-lethal ocean (at the very least perceived) for recreational users on human physical and mental health. Where will these people go if they don’t surf / swim / play in the ocean. For example will they take up mountain bike riding / pig or deer shooting / – what pressure and cost will that be on our terrestrial environment.
• Include the economic risk/benefit to private asset property value (as much as that pains me to say)
• Acknowledge the potential error in the results. Be upfront about the risk in the results.
• If a decision is made ensure the community (not just the surfing) take ownership of this risk – if or when the mitigation results don’t match the modelling.
• Discuss why its ok to spend public dollars on white shark management for a relatively few (or is it?) or community but its not ok to spend public money on vulnerable coastlines to prevent private assets from inundation and erosion.
• Make it clear white sharks are not all sharks. Goes without saying I’m not speaking to surfers here.
• Make the above relatable to ocean and non-ocean users.

Estimate success rate for each potential method. Put a dollar value on it.
Probably all be done – im out of the loop.

Tick's picture
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Tick commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 8:50pm

Dorsal SE Qld

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factotum commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 8:58pm

Jeez, talk about 'speak of the devil'...shark at my local beachie today. Caused a few crew to scurry.

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GuySmiley commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 11:20pm

I just found Madison Stewart’s Instagram account with a link to a guide to surfing with sharks. It’s late so I’ll read tomorrow

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I focus commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 11:26pm

CARCHA or who ever well written raises plenty of thoughts one I think about is recreation more important than the environment?

Surfing is my life line, feed back that I am the warrior, allows me to take risks not condoned in normal life, camaraderie in conditions that make us all equals.

I surf in a tight community where one of the young blokes tragically died as a result of a GWS attack.

Many of us were in the water and we all still feel the pain of the loss including all on the beach,

Yet I don't recall anyone getting angry about the white.

Is recreation more important than the environment?

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Michael Bourne commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 11:40pm

Classic stuff facto. I tried (so fucking hard too) to be kind... to dudee

'The 'radical' position put forward by Dundee has been the default one for the majority of Saladas since surfing kicked off.'

Haha, exactly!

Big Fred, again classic stuff. Spates of attacks aren't new. Fox was only one of three. A decade before Morning of the Earth. They used to hold spearfishing comps off Aldinga. After number three, they finally got the message. Cancelled them. Not too long after, I was learning to surf, and my mate's family had a shack at Aldinga. His older brother and his mates were teaching us to surf. So it was Lions and Gulls.

'You two go out, we'll come out later.'

'Hey weren't those attacks near here?'

Then we graduated to down south...

'Off youse go, this place is called Kings.'

'Shit, are you sure, it looks kinda...'

Don't forget the 'ether'. Its a whole new world. Guys with cameras wandering around everywhere. Cactus has always been recorded, poor bastards are relentlessly besieged by rubbernecks, hanging to get back with their latest 'best ever'... 'shoulda seen' saga.

My experiences were the norm for heaps of guys over west. Cameras were enthusiastically and successfully banned. A gronk wandering around the beach snapping photos would have been quickly dispatched. Now its the 'norm'. Hey thats got a ring to it... 'Norm Carcharodon'! There were some horrific stories. No one relayed it back to the 'news'. That all came later. Now guys record and sell every detail, even recording brushing their teeth before going surfing. It started with the grommets, but they were just a part of the wave. This is it now. 'Legends' make videos of sitting on the cliff. So, heaps of encounters, well every single one, even the dolphins we saw daily, that were once kept quiet, are coming through loud and clear. Not to say that somethings haven't change re sharks. I mentioned tuna farming. It will be interesting to watch the east coast, now that the ball is in their court.

Someone mentioned putting pointers blood in the water to deter them. One shark fisho from Lincoln threw a line in at the mooring hole where you jump into the drink. He hooked a burger, but a behemoth literally chomped it in half before he could land it.

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factotum commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 2:53pm

Fark, how could I have left mention of Rodney Fox out of my original post! He helped introduce the Great White to the bloody world! Including to Peter Benchley...and we all saw where that went!

As a grom, I remember visiting his shop in Adelaide where he had the scaled down shark cage that they used in the film Jaws (with the little to-scale diver in it!) hanging up.

Did he have a joint shop with John Arnold at some stage?

John Arnold is still living it up in Queensland. Swellnet should do an interview or at least a piece on him. Aussie surfing's first entrepreneur! And with him and Malcolm Lock et al, Golden Breed! QuikBong before QuikBong! And he had the first real surfing wetsuits in Australia via his mateship with Jack O'Neill! The deep Wayne Lynch connection! Etc etc etc

I wager that the majority of east coast crew wouldn't even know who and what the fuck I'm even on about.

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bluediamond commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 2:48pm

Yeah the Fox family were legends. Rodney was a classic and his son had the surf shop, i think it was ON and IN up in Adelaide.....used to score the odd 'bargain' from there. Good folk!

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Bnkref commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 4:58pm

On & In!!! Blast from the past. On Wakefield St. Used to love going in there as a frothing grom.

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mattlock commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 5:32pm

On and IN hey. Back in the day I bought a John Arnold wetsuit from them. Jeez it was crap. Zipper kept coming undone, No joy being at the bottom of the hole at Chi's with a blown up wettie full of water. I lent it to my bro and the same thing happened to him. That was funny though.
I also bought a beautiful Roger Matthews 7ft pinnie there which I snapped 2 months later.

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factotum commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 3:15pm

Haha. My first wetsuit purchase was an O'Neill vest from his shop! A vest! My old man thought that was the height of luxury! My younger brother at least got a SeaSuit springy...with a front zip!

To be fair, mid-winter I scored a Piping Hot long arm springy. And so did the old boy! From Gordon Hubbuck's shop. Brother still had to deal with the SeaSuit!

Jeez, how were the wettie rashes back in those days? Pre-rashie, of course.

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Michael Bourne commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 3:07pm

Haha, yeh, thank God for vaso (I know, I know we will be hit with a burst of absolute hilarity from swillnut gary). And when you combined the rash with this stuff:

http://collections.anmm.gov.au/objects/180498

thank God for this stuff.

https://www.naturalnecessity.com.au/pages/our-story

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bluediamond commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 11:49am

Haha. styling the vest Facto. You'd be a hit up Byron way with one of them now! You might have to swap that 9'0 webster for a 9'0 mactavish though. My most treasured item from there was my ON and IN beer stubbie holder with 'Id rather be surfing' in big green letters across it. That things been everywhere with me and nursed many a Coopers Red....it's still floating around somewhere.

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udo commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 11:43am
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goofyfoot commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 2:13pm

Udo! My man! You’ve just posted a god damn link! Im off to the boozer to buy a bottle of rum to celebrate!

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factotum commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 2:56pm

Huzzah! Why the delay? I thought it might have been a grand pedagogical experiment. Upskill punters by forcing them to search for themselves using your info.

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groovie commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 5:33am

So many close encounters in this rave on GWS (me to)! How long before they need to be culled like Crocs are in human population centers in the N.T. W.A. & Nth Qld due to numbers increasing to the point where they are a real danger every time humans enter their domain. Any idea as to why Victoria seems to be immune to GWS attacks? Are they in lock down too?

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billythekid commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 6:56am

Its cold in VIC but we don't have a shark issue.

I used to dream of living up north, but now I'd rather wear a wetsuit and booties in winter than be paranoid about getting my legs bitten off every time I go for a surf.

Maybe we dont get them here as much cos the water's too cold?

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frog commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 8:06am

Four simple , immediate steps to reduce your odds (while we wait for the "solution" that will probably not happen any time soon, if ever). Most are pretty obvious and done by most us already instinctively but we all have habits that could be further adjusted.
1. Cut your hours in the water
- don't bother surfing marginal conditions or waiting an hour for that last wave on a fickle day etc.
- keep busy in a session - catch a lot of waves in shorter sessions.
- Only do the more risky sessions dawn, dusk, known sharky spots or busy fish life days if it is really worth it - high wave count and fun per hour days.
- have other ways to keep fit and active beside the routine surf in mediocre or inconsistent surf.
Less time sitting in the risk zone alone will massively reduce your risk. It will also make surfing a treat with higher fun ratios rather than a habit.
2. Scan the ocean whilst in the water (as George Greenough obviously does) and be aware of splashes, shapes and shadows.
3. Have the fight or flight plan rehearsed in your head.
Often a quick exit is the best option and easily done by a calm paddle or catching a wave if you see something suspicious or worse. But as the stories above show and George's diary has shown - facing the threat, letting it know it is being watched and even paddling straight at it can be what will save you. Unless you have mentally rehearsed such a gut wrenching action you may just take the flight option out of panic when it is the worst thing to do and excite the shark to chase and attack,
4. Paddle steady and never, ever kick your legs into a wave (a thrashing kick could call in sharks from huge distances and really agitate any unseen cruisers in your area). A mate of mine used to routinely kick like a 50 metre swimming medal contender when catching waves at the sharkiest spot we ever surfed way out to sea in deep dark water back in the 80's - safer then I guess but who knows what he lured in that we never saw.

These steps alone could reduce your chances of an attack from very low by another 90% or so to extremely low.

I also think there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that the eye stickers on the board or the fin would put off a lot of investigative approaches.

Frogg

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Vunerable commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 9:10am

Ram Chandra famous snake handler did a lot of work with taipans and other venomous snakes back in the day travelling the outback and central Queensland developing antivenoms for otherwise fatal snake bites.
Saved many people’s lives.
GWS blood or a synthetic version may be the deterrent for preventing more attacks.Ammonia also present in a lot of larger sharks.
Would be interested to see the effects if released around a circling GW.

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Trashman commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 9:46am

Thanks for the rational and caring information. Whitepointer South is a great read. Chris Black author. Have had a couple of Whitey encounters. Seen them a couple of times cruising through channel at Wedge (possibly same individual) Once at SE Cape. The closest was turning around under a cliff break near Hobart to take off on a hot summers day, a Whitey behind me, had not heard it or felt anything. The individual appeared to be sauntering and enjoying the warmer climes. I caught the wave in and called it a day. A beautiful experience really.

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Michael Bourne commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 10:23am

Every theory I've heard ends up getting overthrown by the big fuckers. I know fannsy fought it off and stuff, but that shit happens over east, they got a way of doing 'legendary' shit.... over east. There was a guy over here tried that. Worst thing I've ever heard. He was surfing alone at a notorious area, when he became amusement, a toy for an hour or so. Circled, then rammed, thown in the water, pushed around, back on board, shunted, pushed, chucked allowed to seemingly escape, pushed back out, punching, screaming kicking, for eternity. He made it to shore when it was sick of the game, ended up in a virtual coma in hospital, and left town.

Its like jumping into an aquarium. They know everything thats going on. Once we were surfing and miles out to sea we see dolphins high speed porpoising, as they came a little bit more in sight we were stoked, they were the smaller ones with the yellowish stripe guts, we don't see them much. looked awesome, motoring, then they veered straight at us, and we realised we were human decoys, we didn't look so awesome and fast, but we grovelled out alive. The same spot seals have climbed onto guy's boards trying to escape. Likewise, if a seal the size of a grizzly is shitting its pants, and can't fight the fucker off, ala fannsy, you'd better bolt pronto!

Its an aquarium, and even fish have bad days too. Look, WTF, the fuckin' angel fish ate the fins off me prize guppy! they used to be mmmaaaayyyteesss, and we all know how that can go, aaaaayyee stttuuu...

That place I said is true. They fearlessly swim around the bay, and they eat sharks for breakfast, lunch or tea. So do killer whales, and the pointers are shit scared of them.

Eyes, stripes? Imagine a couple of subs and station wagons catching up...

'Yipes... watch out... don't fuck with him!!!

Why not!!!

'The little puny fucker painted himself in stripes!!!!'

'HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAARRRR!!! I seen one of the little cunts before with a fuckin' eyeball glued on his flabby guts!!!'

I wouldn't count on that if a fuckin' pissed off sub was in venting, or eatin' mode.

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stunet commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 10:38am

You're working up a head of steam here Uppy.

Could be a big weekend on the keys, hey?

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factotum commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 12:24pm

Careful what you wish for, Stuey.

Where is old mate BTW? I thought he'd have a heroic tale or 5 to tell?!

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Rabbits68 commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 12:46pm

“There was a guy over here tried that. Worst thing I've ever heard. He was surfing alone at a notorious area, when he became amusement, a toy for an hour or so. Circled, then rammed, thown in the water, pushed around, back on board, shunted, pushed, chucked allowed to seemingly escape, pushed back out, punching, screaming kicking, for eternity. He made it to shore when it was sick of the game, ended up in a virtual coma in hospital, and left town.”

Assuming that’s a true story Uppy & I have no reason to doubt you, that would have to be one of the most heavy shark interactions that has ever gone down I reckon. Particularly given he made it to shore “unscathed” physically, obviously not mentally. Not surprised to hear he left town. How could anyone paddle back out a that spot or anywhere nearby. Amazing!

Pristine

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zenagain commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 12:57pm

In support of what the big lug above said, I was surfing about a week before the bloke got taken on Moreton Is. at North Point in exactly the same spot. Late Sept. 92 and he was taken early October. Talking to some crew who witnessed it and with great respect to the surfer who died (his name was Michael), the shark took ages apparently and this is a terrible analogy, but according to them, it was like a cat playing with a mouse.

It's absolutely awful business and chills me to the bone but have to agree with the above, I reckon they know exactly what they're doing.

RIP Michael.

1173

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freeride76 commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 4:18pm

This is the official case file on that attack Zen.

Not nice reading and definitely no bite and spit attack.

http://sharkattackfile.net/spreadsheets/pdf_directory/1992.10.01-Dochert...

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Michael Bourne commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 4:52pm

Yeh, that’s a horrendous incident Zen.

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frog commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 1:48pm

Moreton Island and Fraser Island risk levels have long been known and may be the new normal for north NSW in coming years. WA risks now seem more equivalent to Cactus.

Victoria is a mystery. The tagged sharks zig and zag through Bass Strait creating a blur of signals but few attacks so far. Full on seal pups maybe? Older and more cautious biguns?

The good old days a looking better every day.

Frogg

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brainiac commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 9:35pm

I've often wondered this myself frog. I met an marine biologist one day and put forward the above question re Victoria. Considering we have breeding grounds at Phillip island and off Port fairy, why aren't there many GWS interactions on the surf coast and and Victoria in general ? Her theory was that that Bass Straight is a relatively shallow and flat part of the ocean and hence the water and currents move though with vigour and turbulence. The GWS don't really like the turbulent waters are also in 'travel mode' to reach the destinations for breeding, and are not focussed on feeding. Most of the migration trails of the GWS seem to move around Tassie and come back to the mainland oz near the SA /Vic border, avoiding bass straight. So there may be some truth in her theory.

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Michael Bourne commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 2:28pm

Yeh, it is rabs and that guy was an experienced local. And yep how full on, he’d had enough. But I met and had good talks with the two guys that got hit at cactus. One saved his mate, in an equally horrendous endless battle scenario, even eventually including no one in the vicinity even believing that there had even been an attack. The guy showed me the bite marks, the scars, Fox like, so lucky to be alive. Then he went for his first ever surf at blax.

Don’t forget the ab divers. Insane stories.

And stewart, please relax... I would never interfere in this dudes, somewhat sweet, rebounding rebond! Although I am more than concerned stew, about this maaaayyytteee, but no way mmmmaaayyyteeship. That photo in the photo thread... the reflex mashed lip... well at least you didn’t get your block knocked orf!!!

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factotum commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 3:00pm

Hahahahaha. Bearded disguise and restraining order didn't do squat!

And the ab divers! Fark, even round here their stories are wild.

That champ that works (or used to?) between down south WA and west SA - met him up the Bluff once - now there's some tales to take hair off your chest!

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stunet commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 4:40pm

Sexagenarians threatening violence over the internet is pretty pathetic, Uppy.

Leave it in the gym, big boy.

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Michael Bourne commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 5:19pm

Righto, I always get the blame for everything... again. But as I’ve said before, that’s what the big, raw boned, pristine, honest to God, good lookin’ shoulders are for, load em up... again... in a nutshell...

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factotum commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 5:22pm

Huh?

Waaaaaaay to miss the point there or what, Stuey?!

Watch out for YOUR old mate's fish baton!

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Backhander commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 4:30pm

Would it be safe to assume that the Cactus crew in the early seventies were some of the first to use leggies so as to not spend too much time swimming in after losing there boards . First place i saw a legrope setup .

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Michael Bourne commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 4:38pm

Yeh facto, that guy is the real deal legend.

Haha, and yes facto, what a disguise... one could only imagine the distressed state that could lead to hiding out somewhere in that ludicrous explosion of, ‘hey you, look at me, ‘I’ve got so much hair I don’t even know what to with it all’.... and poor Ben, having to look at and no doubt brush that for him all day...

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factotum commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 5:25pm

Haha. The yin and the yang. The bald and da bewdiful.

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GreenJam commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 5:05pm

what about Tassie?

Trashman - you would know more, but I cannot recall any surfer being killed there, despite it being clearly their territory. I did hear of a diver? being killed at SE Cape. What a place to score good waves - I know I was a bit nervous being left out the back there on my own

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velocityjohnno commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 5:24pm

There was a girl up in the NE that had one go her, saved by her uncle, 2007ish iirc
The diver, yep I have heard that story

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Patrick commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 8:35am

A shark pulled a kid out of a boat this year in Tassie. https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.abc.net.au/article/12499260

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GreenJam commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 2:54pm

thanks VJ and Patrick,

I remember both of those now. A stunning spot the location of the attack on the girl, and again crystal clear water.

talking of 'subs', how's the picture of the one behind the bar at the Eaglehawk pub

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velocityjohnno commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 5:19pm

Questions for SA crew / Southern Ocean crew: have fishos still continued to take whites (by accident) since protection? Did things like Gillnets catch any whites in the target size range? And did the gillnets move to Bass Strait as someone mentioned here many years ago?

Questions for FR: to what extent are fishermen now bound to catch/not catch certain species due to regulation? Did local fishing towns have any restrictions on what they could catch in an age when their technology was less industrial - read: in line with nature?

We live in a world of dual ability. The industrial fishing, it has never had so much power to so totally alter marine ecosystems (humanity removed from nature) and at the same time we can now restrict by dictat the fishing of certain species, or from certain areas, and replenish stocks within areas the industrial fishing doesn't get to. Will we be able to be wise steward, recreating the marine ecosystem in a way we think it should exist?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/17/chinese-fishing-arma...

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factotum commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 5:39pm

Hmmm, to put things delicately, um, and not cast aspersions, or erm, even imply in any way, well...there have been some extra-legal (is that the right word?) activities and reactions...

Hell, my next local has got infamous pictures on the wall of a big catch. Everyone knows what he did. No secrets there. Busted.

But that's all in the past...

MB would know more.

The rumours and mythos surrounding the 36 hours apart deaths in 2000 were wild. And without substantiation.

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thermalben commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 8:00am

Gilmore?

Yeah the post-attack stories in 2000 were amazing. Not sure how to separate fact from fiction though. 

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velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 2:03pm

Thanks Facto. I think DC Green did a write up of it shortly afterward in Tracks - the two attacks were an incredible shock at the time, I got to go there around work about 2 years later and it felt very sketchy.

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factotum commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 3:09pm

Stories about how this bust came about abound??

https://apnews.com/1a1506a0c4c32467cbc516c9e58c8671

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velocityjohnno commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 7:01pm

Ah no, DC Green did a road trip for Tracks iirc visiting the area after the 2 attacks.

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freeride76 commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 7:19am

Sean Pollard attack at Esperance doesn't exactly sound like a barrel of laughs.
(account from the official case file)

NARRATIVE: Sean Pollard was on a surfing holiday with his girlfriend, Claire Oakford, when he paddled out at the secluded Kelpies beach. “The shark came underneath me. I was trying to paddle calmly so I wasn't splashing around like I was panicking, but once it got directly behind me it charged through the water. I just felt this massive big bump.” The shark made three attempts to drag him beneath the surface, but Pollard successfully used his board as a shield to fend the fish off. After first taking a bite out of his board and then taking a second chunk out of his leg, the shark went for his arms.
“I spun around to try and face it. It just moved so quick. That's when it come up out of the water, I didn't even see its teeth. It took me like across, and its eye was right there in front of me. Its eye was the blackest black I'd ever seen, and that's just a vision that's burnt into my mind. I can't get it out, just this cover going over its eye as it bit down on me.”
“[The shark] started shaking its head. Both my arms were in its mouth and it just took me underwater. I remember having to hold my breath and just shook its head, like seven or eight times ...it's just the hardest thing I've ever felt. It was so strong. It had ripped my forearm off and sucked the meat off my bone, like a chicken bone pretty much.”
The shark only released its grip after it
severed Pollard’s arm and hand. “And
then next thing I popped up and there
was just blood everywhere.” Pollard saw his board out to sea so he began kicking his way back to the beach when he felt a bump as another shark hit him from behind. Just then he caught a wave. He was swept backwards and upside down towards shore and rescued by a group of strangers. After the attack, beaches in the area were immediately closed.

The more you read the actual accounts the more the single bite and spit theory we are being sold as orthodoxy begins to sound like a fairytale.

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Avocabeachpete commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 8:30am

You’re on the money @Vulnerable, 100%. We don’t put up with living with an imminent threat of death in other areas of life, we take steps to mitigate it, the same applies with GWS. It’s a shame that polarisation occurs in so many of our important debates. It’s not about wholesale culling just as much as it’s not about a free-for-all sharkfest. We can come up with intelligent environmentally sensitive strategies to deal with the problem of shark attacks in humans.

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nipper77 commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 10:31am

Heard from guy that witnessed Cameron's attack at Cactus. after the initial attack and Cameron trying to make it back to shore it came back and took him head first! Jevan's attack apparently a seal hightailed it past him as he was paddling in and jumped onto dry rocks at base of cliffs and then Jevan got nailed. RIP lads.

nipper77

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factotum commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 3:42pm

A mate of my old man's, Martin, was an eye-witness at Cactus. Telling the missus was horrible as you can imagine.

Shocking.

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udo commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 11:57am

Shark Attack file has 16 -18 ft GWS and no chance of mistake I.D.

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Michael Bourne commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 1:43pm

There's good evidence that the pointers are terrified of killer whales. And that they communicate that. Who knows how every species gets together to have a chat, but the evidence across a wide range of species says they do. The subs and stationwagons let all the other pointers know, 'nup, we're outa here', and if the subs and wagons are out, the whole show's over. So far, the available evidence, the 'science' supports it... (please just relax blinder, its good for ya, remember what Tanzi reckons, there's more jamming with him now...)

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/04/great-white-sharks-f...

https://www.sciencealert.com/turns-out-there-s-another-ocean-creature-th...

'The data revealed that whenever orcas showed up in the region - as in, every single time - the sharks made a swift exit, stage left, and stayed away until the next season. They would choof off within minutes, even when the orcas only hung around for less than an hour.

And there was a surprising beneficiary: the elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostrous) that inhabit the coastline and are preyed upon by the great white sharks.

"On average we document around 40 elephant seal predation events by white sharks at Southeast Farallon Island each season," said marine biologist Scot Anderson of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. "After orcas show up, we don't see a single shark and there are no more kills."'

I am particularly interested in the orca thing, because exactly the same thing happened in Lincoln, where the shark charter business ( with their boats), actually caught the whole thing on film.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-09/sharks-evacuate-neptune-islands-a...

As an extremely interesting aside, the young, robust, pehaps frothing lad, an ex teacher, who himself witnessed both horrific attacks at blax and cactus, and who can get a bit excited at times, makes a particulary poignant remark at around the 3 min 35 sec mark. A remark I'd heard from him often in the past, as he (and many others for that matter), completely, utterly dejected after their ludicrous, feeble, ridiculous attempts at a chinup, upon witnessing my spectacular demonstration... again... literally uttered the same profound statement word for word.

Anyway, we know that the pointers stay away, and communicate that sentiment. The communication angle is a long studied, huge topic. Long studied, mainly as the military, and later advertising fields have been, and are very interested in exploiting it.

Here's a really early book about it I read many years ago.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1022690.Psychic_Discoveries_Behind_t...

There is a solution out there, but, and I see this so often in my work experience, of close to 50 years or so, there are also some incredibly dense, literally impenetrable 'boxes', so to speak... in a nutshell... again...

Speaking of, and as you wish, young stupe', just in case you are even more wound up and confused, and to clear the airways, again, so to speak, its not me beating the crap out of and threatening the white pointers, its their ocean going dude mmmaaayteeesss, that aren't really mmmaaayyteesss... are they.. who knows... Perhaps this quote from the first link above best sums up your confusion and calamity!!!!???

'It’s “one of the densest sources of calories you can find in the ocean,” Jorgensen says.'

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batfink commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 8:57pm

Mr Bourne, or as I believe, the poster formerly known as uplift, of this there is no doubt. If you’re not not an Orca, you are not the apex predator. These things are freaking amazing, possible the biggest, smartest animal in the ocean along with octopuses, except they have the dolphin family trait of working in packs. They’re like a pack of really smart and super-quick grizzly bears, but more scary.

Sharks are solitary animals in the main and haven’t got a chance against an Orca clan. Whales struggle against them! I have no doubt that a GWS knows exactly when Orcas are about. They’re pretty noisy in the water and sharks have great hearing, they’d know when a pack is within 100 kms. Even the subs and vans get the hell out of there.

Great stories about indigenous clans having a reciprocal relationship with the Orcas around Eden way, the Orcas shepherding whales into Eden shallows for the local tribe, them cutting out their tongues to give back to the Orcas.

Not sure about the paranormal references in the Cold War, but I’m not a disbeliever. I’ve long since given up the need to believe, or otherwise.

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Michael Bourne commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 11:54pm

Haha, Mr?!! I like it! Great info about Traditional Indigenous Australians working with orcas, their connection to and understanding of life is unsurpassed, and inspirational.

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velocityjohnno commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 1:14pm

"Davidson whalers and "the law of the tongue"
Old Tom's role was commonly to alert the human whalers to the presence of a baleen whale in the bay by breaching or tailslapping at the mouth of the Kiah River, which is one of the smallest rivers, where the Davidson family had their tiny cottages. This role endeared him to the whalers and led to the idea that he was “leader of the pack,” although such a role was more likely taken by a little known female (as is typical among killer whales).[2] The whale known as "Stranger" described as a leader of "stranger's mob" was a large 30 ft male.

After the harpooning, some of the killer whales would even grab the ropes in their teeth and aid the whalers in hauling. The skeleton of Old Tom is on display at the Eden Killer Whale Museum, and significant wear marks still exist on his teeth from repeatedly grabbing fast-moving ropes.[2]

In return for their help, the whalers would anchor the carcass overnight[4] while the killer whales ate the tongue and lips of the whale, then haul it ashore.[2][3] The arrangement is a rare example of mutualism between humans and killer whales.[2] The arrangement was called "the law of the tongue".[3] The killer whales would also feed on the many fish and birds that would show up to pick at the smaller scraps and runoff from the fishing."

The law of the tongue:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_whales_of_Eden,_New_South_Wales

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velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 2:22pm

So what we need is more Orcas. Think of the elephant seals.

https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/news/2015/12/first-king-island-s...

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factotum commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 3:49pm

Remember this a few years back round Bremer Bay?

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/western-australia-shark-mystery-spark...

The doco

https://youtu.be/X8dFMWmYuVo

My 9'0 Camel model Webster has got the black n white striped bottom. Haha. Chucked a Moon Equipped racing sticker on there too! The eyes have it!

Orca power!

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Michael Bourne commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 3:54pm

Epic links!

They'll be so busy laughin', they'll leave you alone facto. However stick a picture of me over that lot to really seal the deal. I certainly wouldn't use that picture of a wounded young stupe' looking like a bug in rug...

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Michael Bourne commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 4:17pm

In fact, facto, I reckon if at the 4 min 30 sec mark of that vid they'd had that beak snouted, hotted up storm on board, they could have chucked it in the drink and it would have bolted! Or better still goofball's monstrously upsized version (he's going for the, if I fall off... which in his case is virtually guaranteed every wave... at least I'll still land on the thing somewhere), which if chucked over the side at it, would be like getting hit by an aircraft carrier.

Anyway, where's dreamin, he could add a story from the old days about an immigrant he head butted, while the kookaburras, koalas and currawongs were circling... again...

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zenagain commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 4:27pm

That's a wicked looking shooter Facto, regardless of the stripes.

Have the Whites returned to the Neptune Islands?

1173

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Michael Bourne commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 4:50pm

Yeh, they stay away for a time till they either know or take a chance its safe again.

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Bedger commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 4:30pm

Here's an idea for an experiment. Lets completely decimate the marine ecosystem up and down the chain with excessive commercial fishing (including sharks), but then protect the biggest Apex predator right at the top, so we have only have larger sharks roaming the seas in huge ranges with dwindling food sources (bar whales which we've also protected, just for the biggest sharks to thrive on). Just for a little added effect, lets then dangle humans in cages with chummed up water with the most visually attuned of the entire shark species but not expect an intelligent creature to associate humans with food. Lets also ban commerical fishing in coastal marine parks, whilst the normal offshore territories of large pelagics are fished to death and finally lets shove increasing numbers of humans (surfing) into the only food rich waters left with a load of legally protected, now maturing 4-6 metre sharks and see what happens.

If I'd suggested as much you'd call me mad two decades ago. This is the reality we now live (surf) in. It is no wonder there are not far more attacks. Protecting Apex predators like Tigers requires a large allocation of land given their range and commendably in turn effectively protects habitats for all those species underneath. Doesn't work in the ocean. Great Whites are well overdue removal from the protected list. Its funny how we will fish to extinction other large wandering pelagics like Blue Finned Tuna, but protect another that could potentially kill our surfing brethren.

I do not believe in culling and despise shark finning, but I can't say I'd be any more averse to the odd GWS steak with my chips than I would flake.

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cd commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 7:24pm

Agree, there are significant imbalances occurring

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batfink commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 9:16pm

That’s a pretty thorough synopsis, Bedger. Seems ludicrous in retrospect.

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hamishbro commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 7:24am

I agree with this 100%. There is a lot of intelligent detached rational comments here and some terrifying first hand accounts too. But there is also a bit of tiptoeing around. At the end of the day this is going to kill more surfers than ever before and no one is going to do anything about it, or really care, except for surfers. Mike Baird was a surfer and that’s one possible reason why there was so much vigour, if somewhat misguided (striving for that mythical balance of no harm done to sharks and human protection has dash meant human deaths and ultimately in non acceptable numbers) in rolling out a stack of shark research and attack deterrent strategies when he was premier.. I just don’t think thats going to happen again. We need a real debate here which is not clouded by our environmental guilt. This is like the “white” guilt underpinning identity politics getting in the way of assessing people on their merits or in the words of MLK judged by the content of their character. It is actually anti-science, and anti-anecdotal evidence (which is a very valid data set) because it starts with a world view that we must protect these great creatures because like many land based megafauna they must be endangered, and they are a wonder of the ocean. No we don’t, we need to go off the science, and it is clearly indicating they can be fished with no issues. Time to put real drum lines down and start gently suppressing the species growth. It’s not rocket science! If not that, then bring some orcas into play. Until then, I’m out. With three young kids sadly I don’t want to risk their future or set an example of recklessness. Happy now greens?

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Bedger commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 10:46am

Heartily agree with the majority of what you've said. We can't control the situation, but we can and do have a huge hand in the situation with our practices.

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Surfalot67 commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 4:53pm

Question guys - has anyone been able to watch Mick's shark doco in Australia? The app Outside TV apparently isn't available here. Any other ideas team?

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Distracted commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 7:42pm

After a magic autumn and winter on the Mid North Coast, with great waves, lots of sand on all the points and even little semi secret coves sanded up, just like CDs article describes, the arrival of the Great Whites with the return migration of the whales has taken away the fun.

I’ve surfed several of the spots in those shark interactions described above over the years with the wife and more recently with the kids. Magic places with clear water where I’d thought there would be little risk of shark attack.

Then, after all the recent dramas went down for a surf with my son at the local and sure enough, there was a shark sighting. Probably wasn’t a Great White, but doesn’t really matter at the moment, enough to give you the spooks. Went back down today and even on the way there was thinking about sharks the whole time.

Not really a nice start for a surf and I reckon I’m going to find something else to do for a couple weeks until things settle down. Let the nor’easters blow up, bring in some cold dirty water and hopefully all the Great Whites can move the fck on.

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Michael Bourne commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 8:27pm

So, we have this:

And this:

https://www.csiro.au/

'At CSIRO, we solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology.'

'As one of the world's largest mission-driven multidisciplinary science and research organisations, we are focusing on the issues that matter the most: for our quality of life, for the economy and for our environment.
When we all focus on the big things that really matter, Australian science and technology can solve seemingly impossible problems, and create new value for all Australians.'

'To assist Australia in responding to the challenges, CSIRO will work with the government, universities, industry and the community on a new missions program to bolster Australia’s COVID-19 recovery and build long term resilience.'

'A Secure Australia and Region: Help safeguard Australia from risks (war, terrorism, regional instability, pandemics, biosecurity, disasters and cyber attacks).'

'The program of large scale, major scientific and collaborative research initiatives, will be aimed at solving some of Australia’s greatest challenges, focused on outcomes that lead to positive impact, new jobs and economic growth.'

A quick search shows that there are are reportedly 2.5 plus million surfers in the country.

The three should easily combine.

Or there's this style of thing that could combine with two and three above, at $10 a head.

https://www.facebook.com/fundraisers/about/personal-fundraising?sem_camp...

Action replays... covers... futuristic 'movements'... payment plans...

Go bugs!!!???

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batfink commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 9:26pm

Whatever else, human beings who don’t spend a good deal of time in the blue (ocean) and the green (landscape, forests, bush walks) is headed for psychological issues. Talk all you like about new age spirituality etc, but we are born of the earth, and a great deal of our mental health issues are associated with the morbidly unnatural world we live in.

I’ve just finished 40 years of office work. The more time I spent in an office the more I knew how much of a toll is taken, physically, psychologically.

Hoping I never have to block out surfing from my activities, my mental health depends on it, as do many others. Not just surfers, swimmers, divers, large numbers of people.

Hope someone smart can come up with a solution.

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zenagain commented Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 at 9:35pm

I'm hearing you BF.

In our spare time, my wife and I climb mountains. Not Everest type mountains but basically long, reasonably challenging treks. I love the clean air, the silence, the change in temperature and landscape as you ascend and descend and to a degree, the sense of accomplishment you get when you reach the summit.

Good for the body, good for the soul.

1173

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factotum commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 11:22am

There ya go, people. 'Problem' solved. If shark scare is deemed too risky and is bumming your high, go do something else.

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Michael Bourne commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 12:55am

You have to hand it to Rabs, he's the only one whose put his hand up, or maybe had it raised for him. Plus, he's made it out the back, into the food chain, this new east coast one, encompassing his old stomping grounds. Or again maybe the skis got him out there. I feel a similar story coming to mind. A surfer's food chain, way out the back, red hot go story.

Young stones, azza, went over the cliff, with hope no doubt, but a shitload more too. The young newy ant, and I stayed on the cliff, we both warned him not to do it. It was no where near ideal, thundering, shifty, messy, lumpy, pretty constant phantoms, tide starting to drain, which always upped the phantom, heading more towards sea breeze blaring, sun setting, glaring. He was on a threadbare budget too, old leggy, and wetty, and although he had a deluxe, well honed eye when it came to boards, he had to often pick from scraps. He had his eye on the phantom, connecting through to a dredged smooth, concrete avalanche.

He'd heard all the food chain stories, although it was a while before that double hit. And outside the phantom, thats a whole different, everything magnified world. Well and truly out there, totally alone, in the late arvo. We didn't check with stupe' and benny, in fact, we never did. No body had a camera, no one even considered getting 'the shot'. Young azza had a genuine red hot go, nearly made a couple of mountains, got run over and nearly dragged to his death by a few, whilst the white knuckled newy ant grimaced, and clutched at the old holden steering wheel. Kinda hopin'... maybe not for the best... just a few feet more and... But, to no avail, stones was back on the cliff, silhouetted in the setting sun. No one took a shot, no one rang the TV station, the news, the mag, the webby, no one even considered it.

A lot happened then. The ant was in the back seat on the way home... Not long after stones got the thing that nearly cracked the reef in half. I was paddling back out along side the young novacastrian, I heard him mutter, well we both did, 'no don't, don't do it!!!' But he did, and went successfully screaming into the channel. But the ant got the best, heaviest wave I've ever seen surfed there a bit later. But azza had him that night. And he was with the ant on that wave. Probably won't make the book, no footage available, a lot of witnesses conveniently looked away at just the right moment...

So, Rabs has the hand up, and is out the back, in the food chain, no doubt wondering if his bed will get well and truly burned to a cinder, reduced to ashes. There's no doubting his abilty, his history when it comes to go over the edge though, so there's batfink's hope. In my job, I see hope all the time though, and its what happens after that that really counts.

Would you put your name on a petition, and put it under the bunny's nose? Would bugs ignore the press and cameras and do an azza? Batfink's right, so the number is well over probably 10 million punters. But what do the CSIRO, and the punters really care about? They'll all turn on me now... even young stones... again...

https://www.csiro.au/en/Research/AF/Areas/Horticulture/Grapes

'A 5-year $37 million co-investment agreement signed today between Wine Australia and the CSIRO will benefit the Australian grape and wine sector and consumers alike'

I mean for fuck's sake...

https://concreteplayground.com/adelaide/arts-entertainment/drunk-history...,'Drunk%20History%20Australia'%20Is%20the%20New%20Comedy%20You%20Should%20Stream,past%20%E2%80%94%20over%20a%20few%20beverages.&text=And%2C%20since%202008%2C%20you',on%20that%20very%20idea%2C%20too.

And then, of course, the place is starvin' to death...

Wiil rabs even get down the thing, and who will back him?!! In a nutshell...

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factotum commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 11:32am

I'll let Da Gull know about this one and to have a read. Good one.

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Michael Bourne commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 1:16pm

For sure, I’ll call him this week.

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factotum commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 6:28pm

Had a barbie with him and a Saffa mate yesterday. Well, braai, bru. Prime boerewors from our local butcher. I was calling best ever.

Allied to your tale, I ended up buying the weapon old Newy mate got made for that specific mission. A Top to Bottom, 8'7. Full rounded rails, volume, and beak way before Webster's later efforts. Maxy's finest work?

It was brand spanking, not even waxed up. Was after he got fucked up at Blacks. Actually, didn't you have a hand in getting it to my mate in Streaky (now Elliston resident)? I defo heard about its availability via Da Gull. Can't remember the actual price (super cheap!) or how I got the money to where it needed to be.

Actually, come to think of it...An old mate of mine, and namesake from Newy originally (SA frequent visitor and now permanent resident north of SB), used to ride that board in its optimum conditions around Margs, unbeknownst to me while I was on a prolonged out of state sojourn. Maybe Camel knew of the board round the Margs traps? I'll have to run that theory past him.

Old mate maintains that was one of the best boards he ever rode. I concur.

That board got surfed in WA, SA, then Portugal and an island off it, Ireland, and finally I left it in a surfside town in England where I lived and worked for a coupla years. Left it for the boys to tackle their bombie. Maybe it got a run? Old mate there was a charger. Took it to another level, but. Famously broke his back in Portugal!

Anyway, one of the boys sent me a pic of it not long ago! Still kickin', semi displayed!

The strange travels of a magic board, hey?

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Michael Bourne commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 5:03pm

Classic, been around the block that one. I remember that was part of a quiver, that the ant had layed out on the footy oval, in his 'garage' sale. He was a gun shaper that Max guy, azza loved them too. The novacastrian... 'look at the publicity I bring him'... pushed him to the limit re ordering heaps of them, wanting more and more 'discount', and more and more instant service. Once a few rolled up half finished... 'finish 'em yourself'. The toddy got worked over at the 'sale, and as the sun set, revealing the folorn, slumped silhouette, the shattering, cheap as chips offers finally started. So I let stones know that there they were, untouched, primo guns, built for a purpose, fins too. Deluxe to see boards in good hands, used how they were meant to be, and still going, that's epic!!!

Roger Matthews deserves a mention, because many years before that he did ride some waves from the phantom through to the end bowl, paddling. It was different, the ideal day and swell, sunny mid morning, clean as. But no mean feat, no one else wanted to know about it. He was in his prime, best he surfed I reckon, although he was always comfortable and did well there. He did it on a purpose built, self designed, and constructed, greyish/black, graphite gun. A multi channel swallow, if I remember correctly, around 8 foot, that he'd pondered about for a long time. It worked perfectly under his feet. He must have been super stoked, his own design, and those that know the place know, again, its no mean feat, no matter how perfect the day. Again, it more than likely won't get in the book, no footage, and again, some eye witnesses just happened to look away at the exact wrong time... again...

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freeride76 commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 5:13pm

loving these stories Uppy.

if memory serves, on my one and only sojourn to Blacks, the one where I left half my face as a souvenir on the limestone ........got old mate in the Bay fishing to drive me to hospital, and when I got there the nurse said where you from and I said "Broken Head" and she said, "I know what's fuggen wrong with you, where you from"....

I recall chatting with you, I think because I was riding a McCoy.

asking you about sharks and you said no-one had been taken, which didn't allay my shark fears.

I think that was a year or two before Jevan got taken.

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Michael Bourne commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 5:54pm

Gidday FR, well, right/wrong no matter what the blather, back then, it was the place. And I loved seeing genuine surfers come, and they did, from all over the world, tons of 'legends' and 'champs' too. And plenty got the rudest shock of their lives, and some absolutely ripped, a buzz to see them. I was actually one of the friendliest local guys, I really enjoy meeting surfers from all over. The genuine surfers are never an issue in my book, they know, or figure out how it works quickly. Anyone with respect got plenty of waves. I don't think its too much to ask, that if you gave up so much to live there, and contributed tons to the community, which meant the, although limited, ammenities were available to visitors, for the local guys to expect some respect, especially if they worked, and were surfing before or after. It was way different back then, hard, and even moreso before I arrived. So, yeh, the McCoy may have been an icebreaker, but I'll bet it was fun to talk to you, or we wouldn't have talked.

As for stories, I surfed my brains out, virtually daily for years, decades. So I've got a zillion stories. For around a decade I was really well set, could surf whenever I liked pretty much. I wasn't fussy like some, and because of Adelaide background didn't mind jumping in the car, and surfing if it was less than perfect. I had so many lone sessions all over the shop, often really late or early. I surfed with spud garnell for years, shortest sessions easy 3/4 hours. So, come days off and weekends, I took what I deserved, and earned. Some of the boys were hilariously fussy, but, with the knowledge of the area and experience that they had, they could afford to be. The hint of a gust, or ripple, would be enough for the arms to go in the air, and the howls of dismay could be heard as they paddled in across literal sheet glass. I used to love it, constant entertainment... And the banter... not me...

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bluediamond commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 6:15pm

Epic stories gents. Thankyou.

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factotum commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 6:46pm

Great story about Roger Matthews. He's a pretty unique specimen.

And yowch FR! Trust the damage wasn't permanent. Physical or otherwise.

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freeride76 commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 6:54pm

few strange superstitions left over.

Before I paddled out, I had a bad feeling....a flock of galahs circled around me.

Now, whenever I see galahs I think I should trust my instincts.

missed a couple weeks surf then got back in the water again Esperance/Walpole, then up the Bluff.

HQ panel van. good times, even when Cossie pulled the funding.

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velocityjohnno commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 6:52pm

Yes these are really good thank you for sharing. Make sure the stories get preserved.

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Agitator commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 7:02am

@Bedger nailed it with that comment!

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frog commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 8:35am

Government responses - one future scenario - blame the victims.

Some extracts from a story on Reunion Island on Surf Simply:

"The situation became abnormal as soon as the first fatal attack occurred on February 19, 2011 on Éric Dargent in Saint Gilles les Bains. Previous to that, the western seaside zone of the island had not experienced any serious attacks in 30 years of development. The shark risk was perfectly known on the island, but remained confined to “wild areas”, renowned for their turbid waters due to our exceptional rainfall. This sudden change in the location of attacks was a strong signal that something had changed: the seaside area had been a kindergarten, where the ocean was shared by many families from morning till evening, without any problem…until 2011."

So what was the government response?

"The most important social change has been the strong disapproval of water-sports practitioners, ocean lovers and, in particular, surfers. Since July 2013, the public opinion following each attack is that it’s an individual responsibility, since “it is forbidden”. Many of us see this as the government’s communication strategy: it is enough for the authorities to say “it is forbidden”, so the blame is transferred to the victim, accusing them of being solely responsible since they did not “respect the rule” and thus closing the case."

And the tourism industry response? Turn their back on the ocean.

From NY times article:

"In 2014, Réunion’s tourism office launched a campaign with the tagline, “Thinking of hiking? Hike in Réunion,” with advertorials featuring bronzed couples in fitness gear taking in the mountain views."

That is where it is possibly heading. Surfing outside "controlled" safer zones becomes like free climbing without ropes. Maybe not banned but viewed as a risky activity not endorsed or supported by the authorities.

Future family holidays - head to the coast, swim in the pool, wade in the shorebreak and then go mountain biking in the hills?

Frogg

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 8:46am

we're already well down that path.

frog's picture
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frog commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 9:05am

Yep, the path of least resistance.

Frogg

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D-Rex commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 9:15am

Given the lack of action from the authorities I see the only solution to this problem as surfers taking matters into their own hands. How long will it be before we arm ourselves with a weapon when we go surfing? Maybe not too far away...

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pancakecollaroy commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 8:39am

Funny you say that, after seeing all the recent attacks on the news my grandad made me a fishing knife in a holster that attaches to the forearm. Haven't used it yet. He doesn't surf but did his research and found that it's not usually the first bite or nudge that gets you, so having a fishing knife within arms reach might mean be the difference.

He reckons strapping on a knife to go surfing should be like putting on your seatbelt before you get it the car.

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Ray Shirlaw commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 10:09am

Weapons....... Tourniquets......Its 2020 not1920

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Bedger commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 10:21am

2.5 million surfers in this country? Maybe its about time to really push it at a political level. Without doubt not enough is being done. The department of fisheries as others point out are often muffled. I am surprised Dr Butcher was so forthcoming. Lets get these guys involved in the debate, some of the guys prepared to stand up - I am tired of the "we just don't know" debate with regard to GWS numbers. If you don't know then why were they put on the protected lists? Of course they have reasonable estimates but few are prepared to poke their heads above the parapit and whilst experts debate, we clearly do know numbers are up (last CSIRO estimates put the East Coast numbers near 1,000 and SW Coast at 1,500. Far more surfers are seeing those GWS in the line up, that is very clear.

The attacks are clearly up even if still marginal - the car fatality comparison is stupid. Most people get in cars and unwittingly drive potentially lethal objects all day long without second thought. We are the same with surfing. We get in the water and unwittingly put ourselves in danger everytime, mainly from drowning, but increasingly from GWS's. The statistical comparisons are chalk and cheese (compare airline deaths to cars by per capita hours spent flying/driving rather than kilometres covered and flight safety suddenly is anything but impressive). Not only are numbers obviously growing, when sharks are coming out of the water and pulling people in (see Tasmania incident) behaviour is clearly changing. Sharks have always been there and mostly ignore you, but the times they don't are clearly on the up. Clearly there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to say that behaviour is changing and the interaction between surfers and sharks is far more regular. Lets at least discuss the factors why in a calm manner (as many admirably do on here - no silly culling demands). Personally I'd advocate taking them off the protected list and banning chummed cage diving. They are just common sense decisions in weighing up all the evidence.

Cage diving is really the one area I do get angry about. I've dived with sharks in open water regularly and have done a feeding dive in open water. Even that I immediately regretted. The change in behaviour of the sharks was so markedly different to those I've seen diving in the past. Sharks are normally cautious animals and the progressive behaviour described above is fantastic - why does it take surfers in danger to flag this rather than experts? The contrast with the regularly fed sharks to naturally isolated ones was massive. I immediately felt guilty that I'd contributed to such silly, selfish pursuit. It was thrilling, but its akin to taunting a chicken leg in front of a Rockweiler's snout and getting angry when he nips your finger in his attempts to grab. Great Whites are glorious, powerful, inelligent but normally very wary creatures. There are a lot of human activities changing their behavioiur for their own selfish pursuits and contributing to the problem in my opinion.

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hamishbro's picture
hamishbro commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 9:18pm

Bedger I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Eric Kotz’s coffee table paperback, the jawsome coast. This is a very interesting read from an old school South Australian who pulls no punches. Right from the first page you know where he stands - he’s pro white shark fishing, and whether you agree with that sentiment or not he offers a very informed history of the growing pattern of incidents and fatalities in South Australia, which as others more familiar then I have already pointed out, was the unenviable “pioneer” state of white shark fatalities. He is particularly scathing of the cage diving industry due to their excessive use of chumming and burleying to attract and tease the sharks which he correlates an increasingly aggressive and territorial white shark population. Then there is the tuna fishing industry too. What’s shocking is how the pattern of attacks shift into areas previously though if as safe havens, very similar to the Greenmount incident. Some of the attacks documented are truly tragic - a young mum snorkelling not far offshore of a beautiful gentle bay frequented by families, the last place you would expect. The information and arguments put forward in the book, however crude at times, feel particularly relevant right now in NSW.

overthefalls's picture
overthefalls's picture
overthefalls commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 4:50pm

Anyone got any thoughts on those Shark Eyes stickers?

Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne's picture
Michael Bourne commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 6:03pm

This guy's had a bit of experience with sharks and the ocean.

https://www.sharkeyesglobal.com/blogs/news/greg-pickering

Not for me though. Remember that guy's account somewhere on here of actually eyeballing the thing, that jet black eye? Well, there's been plenty of them just before they bite.

Max Wax's picture
Max Wax's picture
Max Wax commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 6:30pm

Had the most awful surf this morning with 3 others at the local reef after reading these stories and watching all those videos last night....

factotum's picture
factotum's picture
factotum commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 6:40pm

Yeah, that's the bloke, MB. Legend.

Haha. The old Moon Equipped sticker ain't a joke!

Whatever gets you through the night...

Agitator's picture
Agitator's picture
Agitator commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 8:38pm

After reading this - “Lions are ambush predators that rely on stalking,” explained joint UNSW Science and Taronga Western Plains Zoo researcher Dr Neil Jordan in a statement. “Therefore the element of surprise, so being seen by their prey can lead to them abandoning the hunt.” - in the link above in udo's post

I'm going to seriously look into getting a printer make up some dinner plate size stickers of eye's and put 2 on each of my boards!!!!!!! ..... might just save our lives, what do we have to loose? ..... seems like a no brainer to me and I have to do something as it looks like no one else out there is going to do anything anytime soon.

Who knows, surf eyes or shark repellent eyes .... might need to take a copyright out on it .... may become bigger than the thruster ... lol. Nah, I'm deadly serious about this.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 8:48pm
udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 8:53pm

280 mm x 142 large eyes stickers - $25 per eye

Agitator's picture
Agitator's picture
Agitator commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 9:14pm

DANG!!!! Oh well then, good, will have to get some......but those blue eyes don't look to scary to me.

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 10:11pm

For years I have had my shaper position round decals on the bottom of a couple of my boards so they look a bit like eyes.
Although on the last one I had made he put them on the deck by mistake!

aussieguy's picture
aussieguy's picture
aussieguy commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 12:54pm

Clearly Matty your shaper thought they were just weird surfboard art and didn't understand their function. On top of the board!!! Thanks - I needed that laugh.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 1:15pm

Orange blue or green avail in Sth Africa
https://www.eyeseeshark.co.za/

Phil Cross's picture
Phil Cross's picture
Phil Cross commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 2:49pm

We should ask Professor Charlie Huveneers to contribute.

A white specialist - I'll sent him this thread.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4S0deiO6ZGU

and he contributed to this "Effectiveness of five personal shark-bite deterrents for surfers" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6120439/

and this one from Charlie "Effectiveness of novel fabrics to resist punctures and lacerations from white shark (Carcharodon carcharias): Implications to reduce injuries from shark bites"
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0224432

Johknee's picture
Johknee's picture
Johknee commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 5:10pm

Thanks for the links, Phil. Some cool research!

I'm not sure I buy the idea that sharks approach prey with the sun behind because they use the glare to obscure themselves. Someone mentioned above anthropomorphism, and I think that applies in this particular case. Please, correct me if this sounds silly, but how does a shark 'know' that prey cannot see them when the sun is behind them? Wouldn't that mean that they would have to take the perspective of the prey i.e. higher-order mental ability? I know this has been studied in primates and chimps etc. are capable of 'perspective-taking'. To learn this, the shark has to be capable of simple logic, which is possible. I don't know, seems a bit of a stretch for me. In saying that, the idea that they approach with the sun behind them because of glare seems more plausible - stimulus-response type thing. Anyway, this is cool stuff and interesting to see individual differences; you gotta love noisy, animal behaviour data.

Max Wax's picture
Max Wax's picture
Max Wax commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 5:52pm

My take is that they don't actually 'know' the prey cannot see them into the glare, its not a 100% guarantee, it just gives them a better chance of no detection. Plus the sun is not in the sharks eyes, and the prey is well lit, you also need a shallower bottom with clear water to see the shadow of the shark. More than one advantage IMO.

I've also seen this on a smaller scale with Australian Salmon feeding on baitfish in surface schools. Not always, but often the shadow of the boat can spook the school if you are positioned between them and the sun (you are the bigger predator), they will only take the lure feeding away from the sun. Obviously other factors of wind, tide, swell etc...
Anyone else have thoughts on this? Would be interested in what you more experienced blokes think

luke37's picture
luke37's picture
luke37 commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 3:10pm

The most smooth, PC and defeatest read on shark attacks i've read! "Now is time for us to accept the ongoing presence of white sharks and learn to accept them with grace." What a load of baloney! Can someone tell me precisely what GWSs do in the ocean that humans cannot do instead?

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 6:07pm
Johknee's picture
Johknee's picture
Johknee commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 10:54am

Looks like that was filmed on the MNC, VJ!

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 2:59pm

Makes sense as it's cheaper than filming in London! If you liked that, I also discovered

Sharktopus vs Pteracuda

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9sGF7aYTYc

One for all your fever nightmares...

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 4:24pm

Luke37
“ Can someone tell me precisely what GWSs do in the ocean that humans cannot do instead?”

What does that even mean?

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 6:06pm

haha. Exactly Goofy. What are birds doing in the sky while we're at it? And why are there fat chicks? What's their purpose?

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 5:25pm

Gw nusa penida Indo....last year......scroll down for the vid.....big shark !
https://www.facebook.com/BlueCornerDive/posts/2416013058464706

simba

Distracted's picture
Distracted's picture
Distracted commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 7:26pm

Looks like it might be pregnant? Bit like that massive one that was in Hawaii. Wonder if they are like Tailor and drop the pups up north and the pups then head down the coast with the EAC.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/07/rare-footage-three-fe...

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 7:30pm

wow, wonder how the Indonesians will or would react if whites started showing up there more regularly and people started getting bit.

D-Rex's picture
D-Rex's picture
D-Rex commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 8:28pm

They wouldn't be debating the issue ad infinitum on swellnet, that's for sure. Also agree with Luke, this piece is a load of horse shit.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 10:00pm

Gee D Rex. You really want Australian coast's to be in the same state as the coast of Indonesia's just so us humans can perfect our cutbacks? Zaaaar!

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 8:33am
Agitator's picture
Agitator's picture
Agitator commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 8:32am

Who you going to call - Ghost Busters....err....Vic Hislop!!!

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 10:02am

This was a pretty good article on Eric Kotz - he has the experience in the ocean in SA. He relates that things began to change in early 80's with burleying to catch the big ones.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-11/jawsome-coast-australia-tracks-gr...
from 2016.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 11:01am

785-A7543-3740-4-E04-8-D9-F-606-F4-B09179-A

From the link Udo posted.
Ps. Very impressive Udo, posting links like they’re going out of fashion these days. Im’a likin it!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 11:07am

Haha, once he's started...

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 12:31pm

no, only just heard of Eric.
will check out that book.

I agree with him on Smart Drumlines though.