Call in the drones, the joint is crawling with sharks…
The NSW town of Ballina confirmed its position as the shark capital of Australia yesterday with a stunning display of fireworks at North Wall, activity that shut the stretch of beach from North Wall to Lighthouse down.
The clarity of the water, a dazzling turquoise relatively common in winter, meant the happy pod of sixty six-foot long bull sharks was spotted by drones as well as spectators watching from the rock groyne that gives North Wall its name.
Between 2011 and 2016, Ballina hosted eleven shark attacks, including 2015’s Great White hit that killed Tadashi Nakhara, and serious hits on bodyboarder Matt Lee and Sam Morgan. At the time, the town accounted for almost ten percent of the world’s shark encounters.
In 2016, Dan Webber, who is the brother of Greg Webber, watched as the surfer Cooper Allan got what is described in these part as a “Ballina hickey” from a Great White.
“I was standing in waist deep water, about five metres away, when I saw a shark in the face of a wave between me and three guys sitting further out,” said Dane. “A few seconds later, I heard a shout, followed by the nose of a board sailing through the air.”
The joint finally got shark nets in 2017, but were removed a year later, over concerns they might catch a migrating whale.
Fifty surfers stayed in the lineup yesterday which prompted the town’s mayor David Wright to call ’em “selfish”.
If I wore the mayoral robe I would’ve said, how the fuck did Ballina ever get this crowded?