"I felt like surfing at Teahupoo when it’s ten-to-twelve foot!"
French Polynesian surfer Michel Bourez has posted a breathless account of being hit by a “three-to-four-metre hammerhead shark” while piloting a foil-board thereby confirming the summer of 2020 as the season of the shark.
Or, more colourfully, The Summer of Blood.
“I was doing a down wind from Tahiti (Mahina ) to Moorea (Vaiare) when a hammer shark chased my foil and bite it. He broke the tail of my @signaturefoils so I could not keep going,” wrote Michel, employing excellent use of Instagram handles.
“Then I sat on my @firewiresurfboards and waved at my friends on the boat to come and pick me up. After two-to-three minutes by myself, I felt something was wrong so I looked around me and stayed in alert just in case the shark would come back again.
“I was right!
“The three-to-four-metre hammer shark came back again at me so I put my foil in between him and I to protect myself. He bit my foil for the second time realizing it was definitely not eatable and swam back away from me. The boat picked me up a few minutes after and I was safe.
“Fifteen minutes later I decided to go foil again and finished the race we had.
“I felt like surfing at Teahupoo when it’s ten-to-twelve foot! We know the risk to get hurt or even dying but the love of our sport is too strong. EVERY TIME I go foiling in the deep blue, I’ve seen hammers sharks cruising around so I know the risk since the beginning. The ocean is their world and I respect that! No bad feelings at all! He just owe me a new foil…”
Hammerheads are unfathomably rare.
According to the International Shark Attack File there have only been seventeen recorded attacks (make that eighteen) since 1580, none fatal.