Bodyboarder tossed like salad in Western Australia!
Does a non-fatal hit by a Great White count anymore?
When a middle-aged bodyboarder was tossed like salad by a twelve-foot White yesterday and swam to the beach without his little board, oh I hardly swatted a eyelid.
What would’ve been front-page news a dozen years ago is missed by even by the vast aggregators of surf news.
But this footage of the bodyboarder touching land immediately afterwards makes the skin crawl. Huddled between the feet of a half-a-dozen other surfers, lungs inflated by the rapture of safety, the bodyboarder Paul Goff says,
“Oh my god. That was the biggest thing I’ve ever fucking seen.”
Another surfer says, “That was a fucking Great White, man.”
Even better, two almost identical headlines in two days!
From Perth’s Sunday Times,
The 48-year-old was relatively matter-of-fact yesterday as he recounted the terrifying incident just hours after he safely reached shore.
But he admitted that during the unknown minutes it took to swim the 80-odd metres to the beach he had no idea whether he would make it alive and counts himself lucky.
“I didn’t know how far the shark was behind me, whether it was coming up behind me or had stayed out,” Mr Goff said.
“To be honest I wasn’t entirely sure what was going to happen.”
He did not look back at all, just concentrated on swimming as fast as he could. As he reached within 30m of the shore, two of the other bodyboarders who had been in the water with him walked back into the shallows and their yells to “swim, swim, swim” had him fearing the worst.
Wearing fins, he could not stand and they dragged him the final metres out of the water. He said when he finally composed himself a few minutes later to look out to sea, he realised the predator had not chased him but was toying with his board.
The black and white bodyboard was now more than 100m out and Mr Goff sat watching for several minutes as the shark circled and nudged it.
Mr Goff is unsure just how big the predator was. But witnesses believe it was a 3.5m to 4m great white and Fisheries officers have now taken the board, which was later recovered by volunteer marine rescuers, to see if the bite marks in it will reveal exactly what attacked him.
When Mr Goff and two others had arrived at Casuarina Point – the spot known locally as BP – just before 8am, there was just one surfer in the water.
One of his mates commented that the lone surfer would be dismayed at having company. But Mr Goff replied that he should be pleased, saying if there was a shark attack the man’s chances of being the victim had reduced from 100 to 25 per cent.
That joke would come back to haunt him less than an hour later. A man in a look-out tower reportedly saw swirling and thrashing in the water just before the shark struck.
But Mr Goff said neither he nor the other six surfers in the water with him saw anything in the clear 2m-deep water in the moments beforehand.
“I had no warning at all that it was there,” he said. “The camouflage colour of the shark – that’s what it’s there for, it protects them. I didn’t see it coming.”
Mr Goff admits to being surprised – and very lucky – that the predator chose to attack the board rather than the noisy, moving target he was.
He said he did not think the incident would keep him out of the water and did not think the shark should be killed since it had not hurt him.
“I probably got the best result I could have,” he said. “People say I should have bought a lotto ticket, maybe, maybe not.”