Small recompense, but it's something…
There is no more beautiful creature in the ocean than the White Pointer, the Great White, White Death. Those formidable teeth resting on the glistening red underlip, the beauty of her white underbody, the roundness of her girth.
Closer inspection of such titanic beauty, of course, is never wise.
Six years ago, South Australian surfer Chris Blowes was surfing an easy wave called The Right near Port Lincoln, a tuna fishing town on the Eyre Peninsula.
Plenty of fish. Plenty of sharks.
Chris, who was twenty six, was sitting upright on his board among a pack of a dozen guys, a few metres from rocks, when what witnesses described as a 20-foot great white attacked and swam away with his leg and surfboard.
I was just watching the shark go out to the ocean with his board still attached. Obviously the shark still had his leg and he was still swimming around with it,’ one surfer told the Adelaide Advertiser.
“I remember being its mouth,” said Blowes. “All those thoughts come rushing through your head … ‘I don’t want to die … I don’t want to die’.”
Blowes went into cardiac arrest, paramedics performed CPR to keep him alive until he got to the hozzy where he was in a coma for ten days.
When the board was recovered by police, a tooth belonging to the Great White was found embedded his craft.
As per South Oz law, where it is illegal to possess, sell or purchase any part of white sharks – and those who breach the law can face a fine of up to A$100,000 or two years in the pen, cops gave the fang to the Department of Primary Industries and Regions.
For six years, Blowes, who now surfs with a prosthetic leg, pestered authorities to get the tooth.
Finally, after the intervention by a local politician, Blowes has his souvenir, the first time in South Oz history an exemption to the act has been granted.
“It was stuck in my board,” Blowes told the BBC. “I would never kill a shark for its tooth but it took my leg [so] I can’t see any reason why I can’t have that. The shark isn’t getting its tooth back [and] I’m not getting my leg back.”