Shark attack suspends elite surfing competition in Australia

Erika Holt
April 16, 2018

"We have been alerted of a shark incident that occurred near Gracetown", the WSL said in a tweet.

Surf Life Saving WA had noted several sightings of sharks in the area, including a four-metre shark off Lefthanders, near where the attack happened, this morning.

"If anyone is familiar with the Mick Fanning moment at Jeffreys Bay a couple of years ago, it was very similar to that, where a shark pretty much popped up and ended up knocking a surfer off his board", Mr Jovic told ABC radio.

"After discussing with local authorities, the water safety team and surfers, the WSL commissioner's office has chose to resume competition for the Margaret River Pro at Main Break at 10.40am, following a one-hour hold prompted by reports of a shark incident at Gracetown - approximately 15km away from the event site", a spokeswoman said.

Opposition Leader Mike Nahan said the attack would make worldwide news because of the Pro event. "There was a lot more thrashing around. We have mitigation protocols in place and will be enhancing those when competition resumes".

"Surfer and staff safety are top priorities for the World Surf League", a spokeswoman said.

He said the incident emphasised the need to do more, including using SMART drumlines, rather than the Labor government's subsidised shark deterrent devices. "After that it was hard to see what was going on".

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A spokeswoman for the event said the surf contest was under way at Margaret River's main break at the time of the attack. The man was attended by ambulance officers and airlifted to the Royal Perth hospital, 265km away.

A surfer has been left with serious injuries to both of his legs after being attacked by a shark off the coast of southwestern Australia.

Fisheries scientists from Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development will inspect the surfboard that was being used by the injured surfer.

Unconfirmed reports suggest the shark was a great white.

A surfer was killed by a shark at Gracetown in 2013.

All three were surfers.

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