Two attacks in two days (one fatal) and a man hit in the shallows by a White late last year…
The city of Byron Bay, tucked just under the border of Queensland in northern NSW, is known for a lot of things. It has the remnants of that seventies hippie vibe and, lately, has become ground zero for surfers chasing the sexy surf lifestyle of leash-less boards, button-ups in the surf, long hair and fantastic tans.
But, now, Byron is… sharks. Big sharks. Killer sharks.
Last September, a 50-year-old man was 15 metres from shore at Clarkes Beach (yeah, right there near the Pass) and was killed by a Great White.
Yesterday, a surfer was bitten at seven-mile just south of Byron.
And, this morning, Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahar, 41, died after having both legs bitten off by a 10-to-12-foot Great White at Shelley Beach, nearby.
“So so SO sad to hear that it was Tadashi Nakahara taken by a shark on Monday,” the shaper Nev Hyman wrote on his Facebook page. “He was an amazing surfer, having won three times the “Nev Cup” at Surfers Paradise put on by my amazing Japanese staff Shin and Kaz. The Gold Coast surfing community will no doubt be shattered by the lost of such a remarkable man.Amongst other things he worked as the board salesman for Brothers Neilsen stoking out countless of excited surfers from all over the world as they bought a new board. He touched a lot of people all of whom would now be sending their love and sympathies to his kids family and friends.”
It’s interesting to note that Byron Bay, the most easterly point of Australia and once home to a vibrant whaling industry, used to be regarded as the sharkiest joint in Australia. All those migrating sharks would be swimming offshore and… boom… suddenly what was a few hundred metres offshore was now almost on the sand.
Talk to anyone who surfed Byron and it was always about the sharks.
Tallows, that gorgeous little beach tucked away in the headland away from summer’s north-easterlies, had a fatal in ’82.
Eleven years later a diver got it from a White at Julian Rocks, those big hunks of rock you see just offshore from Main Beach.
In 2008, a bodyboarder died at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina, just south of Byron.
And today, and yesterday, and last September, attacks.
But, wait. There’s more!
Over the weekend, a surfer head-butted the actual Wreck and died in hospital.
A woman filming dolphins at Wategoes was launched from beneath by (probably) a shark. Broken board etc.
Another surfer was hit from below at Flat Rock (Ballina) on Sat. Not hurt.
What’s compelling about the whole shark thing round town is how disinterested surfers in Byron are. Even now, unless a shark in the lineup is a monster surfers will be back within half-an-hour.
Meanwhile, on Friday arvo, a man dropped dead while drinking a beer at a local pub.
Life, such brevity.