Huge shark terrifies pro surfers in Western Australia

By Jai Bednall

Kanoa Igarashi was one of several WSL surfers out when the shark was spotted. Photo / Getty Images
Kanoa Igarashi was one of several WSL surfers out when the shark was spotted. Photo / Getty Images

Some of the world's best surfers endured a spooky moment on the eve of the Margaret River Pro in Western Australia as they were forced to flee the water after spotting a shark.

Surfline.com reports World Surf League competitors Kanoa Igarashi, Jeremy Flores, Caio Ibelli, Alessa Quizon and Wiggolly Dantas - as well as Margies wildcard Leo Fioravanti - were getting one final warm-up session in at the main break on Thursday night when a shark appeared about 15m from where they were sitting in the line-up.

"It looked like a submarine," Igarashi told Stab Magazine. "It was creepily emerging out of the water and it kept growing, the fin - it never stopped. I looked over and thought 'woah there's a dolphin next to the shark' but it was actually the tail fin!

"The tail fin was like seven, eight feet away from the main fin and it was thrashing around and then shot down. I looked over at Caio and he had the most scared face I've ever seen ...

I'm calling a 15-footer."

The terrified group later discovered the shark had been hanging around for 30 minutes. "We were all waiting to get one more wave, and everyone was talking to each other with their backs to the ocean," Ibelli told surfline.com.

"When I turned back, I saw the biggest shark not very far from us. When I called it out, everyone started paddling in super fast. We all caught the same wave - only Leo fell behind and caught the one behind us. Everyone was pretty scared."

"I was a bit on the inside and decided to catch the first wave I could when I heard all the guys out the back screaming," women's competitor Alessa Quizon added.

"I turned back and saw all the boys riding on one wave, and I started thinking, 'Is something happening?' Then I thought immediately, 'Oh, shark'."

World tour competitors have become increasingly conscious of sharks following Mick Fanning's brush with death at Jeffreys Bay last year.

That scare - coupled with Western Australia's reputation as a shark haven - will see the WSL implement dedicated shark-detecting jetskis at this year's Margaret River Pro.

Two jetskis fitted with beefed-up fish finders will patrol the competition area whenever surfers are in the water.

"The sonar has the ability to shoot down and across with a range over 150 feet," Surfing WA events manager Justin Majeks told surfline.com. "They will scan the area and if any little blip pops up, the jetski will then head directly to the zone, turn on the camera and be able to identify if it's a dolphin or some other form of marine life."

Fear of an attack has also reportedly seen some competitors start wearing a new surfboard leash with shark-deterring capabilities.

According to a report by Stab Magazine, the secretive technology - which has been developed by Modom - involves the use of magnets.

"When attached to a fake leg made from raw meat, bull sharks are reported to have thrown it in reverse two metres from the leash," Stab reported. "Without the leash attached, they mauled the leg."

Dolphins were also seen in the line-up after competition got underway in the women's event on Friday morning.


-news.com.au

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