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Beach Grit

Second shark attack at Margaret River!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Hours after a Great White attack at Cobblestones, a surfer is hit by a White at nearby Lefthanders… 

I doubt if it’s a stretch to call today’s twin attacks by Great Whites in Margaret River unprecedented. Five or so hours after Argentinian surfer Alejandro Travaglini was airlifted from Cobblestones, a reef peak near the site of the Margaret River Pro, after being hit by a four-metre Great White, another surfer was been hit by a White, this time at Lefthanders.

That name ring a bell? It’s the same joint Brad Smith was surfing in 2004 when he was hit by a pair of Great Whites.

If you want a timeline of fatal shark attacks in the area, click here.

Denmark (WA) surfer Jason Longgrass, who is 41, reckoned he was “having a ball” at the beach, which was closed because of the earlier shark attack, when the Great White, estimated at four-metres long, hit his board. Hard to blame him for being out. It was a classic south-west afternoon: offshore easterly winds, a four-to-six-foot swell, air temps scratching the high-twenties.

“It was bee-lining straight at me, I went to slap the water and by then he made a sudden acceleration and then just nailed the board,” Longrass told reporters. “I don’t normally surf the place but it was uncrowded. I didn’t know why. I heard there was a shark around and I thought, yes, there are sharks in the ocean, kept surfing and the boat’s calling everyone in and I hung out there for a little longer than everyone else and…whammo…”

Longgrass’ minor leg wounds were treated at the scene by paramedics.

A few more details have come through about the earlier attack.

Brett Newland told ABC News: 

“It swam under a couple of guys and came around and bit a third person… It was a large shark and from the way it was behaving, it would have been a white pointer. All the other surfers swam to him, helped him get away from his board and leg rope and helped him get on a wave, and luckily [he] caught a wave onto the reef. The surfers that helped him in got tourniquets on his legs as soon as they got on the shallow reef, and then other people came down from the carpark and put him onto a surfboard and carried him up to the carpark.”

Despite the twin attacks, it ain’t entirely surprising. There’s a ton of people in the water. The Western Australian Salmon, which can hit nine kilos, and is a favourite of sharks, are spawning and, for whatever reasons, the coastline is dotted with beached pilot whales, including one at Lefthanders.