Shark attack suspends elite surfing competition in Australia

16 April, 2018, 11:12 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Surfers look back at the swell on Cowaramup Bay in Gracetown. Source File pic Getty Images

A man has been airlifted to Royal Perth Hospital with apparent leg injuries after he was bitten by a shark near Gracetown.

A man in his 30s was attacked by a shark shortly before 8am.

Surf photographer Peter Jovic watched the attack from the beach and likened it to the live broadcast of a shark attack in South Africa in 2015.

"If anyone is familiar with the Mick Fanning moment at Jeffreys Bay it was quite similar to that, where a shark pretty much popped up and knocked a surfer off his board".

Another radio caller said other surfers had been spooked by the shark and had started leaving the water just before the attack happened.

According to The West Australian, John John and Nathan Florence encountered two large sharks during a free surf in the days leading up the Margaret River Pro.

The World Surf League have tweeted that they will be putting the World Surf League on hold as a result of the incident.

Mr Newland said the man was conscious the whole time.

"He had cuts to both legs".

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The Shark Smart website said a decomposing whale carcass closeby may be what attracted the predator.

Beach closures are in place around Gracetown including North Point, Big Rock and Left Handers and fisheries officers are monitoring the area.

The Margaret River Pro was initially put on hold by the World Surf League but organisers chose to allow the competition to resume at 10.40am. "The #MargiesPro is on hold while we work with local authorities".

Heats had today returned to Main Break in Prevelly but the competition was suspended after the attack.

Organisers made a decision to resume the competition about an hour later with "enhanced safety measures" after discussions with local authorities and surfers.

"The World Surf League (WSL) has been alerted to a shark incident that occurred near Gracetown", a WSL spokesman said.

"Typically we have three or four in the water dedicated to surfer safety and also to our shark safety protocol and we've stepped that up now, we've actually got seven in the line-up and we've increased our drone presence to two".

Surfers had been in action this morning in the competition before the attack.

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