First day of summer. And here come the sharks!
A few hours ago, a surfer was hit by a shark at Booti Booti National Park right there in the dreamy southern corner of Seven Mile Beach, near Forster on Australia’s mid-north coast.
Sixty-five-year-old Colin Rowland was hit from below and dragged underwater by his legrope. His board was ripped in two but the only injuries he suffered were deep cuts to his foot. Relatively minor when you consider the commotion that must’ve gone on in the battle between man and misunderstood beast.
Check out the photo here. What kind of shark’s going to hit you from beneath and bite your sled in two? Ol Mr Whitey, yeah? Newspaper reports suggest a 10-foot White.
Anyway, paramedics swooped, drove Col to the local bowling club where a rescue chopper flew him to hospital, Col giving the thumbs up to photographers. All good, mostly. Lucky escape etc.
So where is this joint?
If you know your surf movies, and your photos, you’ll have seen the waves around here a thousand times. Blue water. Dreamy, sometimes empty, peaks. Three-and-a-half hours drive north of Sydney. Look up the oeuvre of Newcastle’s Bosko to see a catalogue of the joint.
Sharky as all hell, always has been. I was surfing a little peak at nearby Seal Rocks two weeks ago, closing on dusk, when a kid started screaming to his little brother that a shark was next to him. Next thing, a local paddles out and says an eight-footer swam under his board while he was riding a wave. Of course I shrieked and windmilled to shore, kissing the sand, panting etc.
I remember a wonderful story, years ago, written by Nick Carroll, where he came face to face with a shark underwater and totally fronted it. Stared at the fucker until it left him alone.
(Nick, if you’re reading this, do fill in the blanks.)
And, the board pictured. The JS. Does it not strike you as remarkable that a senior rides such a modern piece of equipment? It ain’t even sorta fishy. Usually, the aged totter around on SUPS or ancient longboards or some kinda deadly hybrid. This stud must rip and therefore we wish a swift recovery.
(Note: JS Surfboards is going to replace the mutilated sled. Col? You out there? Contact Curt Emerton at JS Surfboards. He’ll sort you out. Also, Dayan Neve from FCS is going to supply the leash, the grip, the fins.)
Meanwhile, Seven-Mile Beach and nearby Boomerang and Blueys have been closed while authorities, well, they can’t do much. But closing beaches does give the appearance of doing something.
Anyone got any good Forster/Pacific Palms shark stories?