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Sharks - page 3

Yet Another Shark Incident At Ballina – Man Suffers Serious Leg Wounds

Ballina local surfer Sam Morgan / Photo source Facebook
UPDATE 9:30pm: The surfer bitten this afternoon by what witnesses have hinted at may have been a bull  shark, has been identified as Ballina local surfer Sam Morgan.

Sam’s friends have rallied behind him, supporting the talented local surfer whilst witnesses and the local community begin to absorb the shock of yet another serious shark attack on the northern NSW coastline.

One friend who was with Sam this afternoon posted the following on his facebook a short while ago –

“Sam that was the most surreal experience I’ve ever had to go through. Hold together brother”

Sam’s condition is not fully understood at this stage, however witnesses have said the bite appeared to be very serious.

The scene of this afternoon’s incident – Photo source Facebook

Sam is no stranger to the area and to surfing, being a long-time local and a competitive surfer with a flare for aerial surfing.

Sam Morgan in action, busting fins and taking flight / Photo source Facebook

Earlier: Reports are coming in that a 20-year-old surfer has been rushed to hospital after being attacked by a shark at Lighthouse Beach in Ballina this afternoon.

The incident occurred near where bodyboarder Mathew Lee almost lost his life to a great white shark earlier this year.

The man informed police that he was bitten by a shark whilst out surfing at about 6:25pm NSW time (5:25pm QLD). He apparently made it in on his own and came from the water unassisted until onlookers were able to take over and help.

His left thigh is reported to be the location of his injuries and he has been sent to Lismore Hospital in a serious but stable condition. The beach is of course now to be closed for a minimum 24 hours. The species of shark and full circumstances are not yet known. More to follow…


Just some of the recent shark encounters on the North Coast of NSW – in addition there been many more sightings and minor incidents as well over the last couple of years, so much so the NSW government is now investing many millions into finding a solution.

Great White Shark Strikes Cage Divers With Massive Speed

Make sure you’re sitting down and put it full screen for this!

Cage divers in South Africa got way more than they expected when a great white shark hit their cage from out of nowhere with intense ferocity – showing the true striking power these predators possess.

The shark is clearly aroused and is baited in by the tour operator in such a way that it appears out of nowhere suddenly, driving at phenomenal speed into the cage. Its bite and momentum is only arrested by a single bar on the shark cage.


One diver can be heard letting out a muffled ‘holy shit’ as they briefly surface and laugh off their encounter -although they should probably check the contents of their wetsuits, we know we would be doing this.

Certainly raises many questions yet again over the safety and ethical treatment of these prime keystone predators. What would the world say if this was a video of operators baiting and luring in lions or rare tigers so that they smashed their faces into steel cages for our amusement?

Harmless fun or reckless and inhumane?

Video by Spencer Reilly

Two Micks, Two Sharks … Same Boat With Different Stories

It’s something we’ve all thought about – all visualised in some form or another – but it’s not until it happens that you can even begin to comprehend what it’s like to go head to head with an ocean super predator … on their terms.

Every day we enter the ocean, we enter an alien realm of possibility and peril, and every now and then that peril comes out to meet us with full force – as was the case for two men … both named Mick.

Fanning, a champion surfer with the eyes of the world bearing down on him and Hoile, a Gold Coast family man and teacher, both suddenly felt the force of a great white shark thrusting into their board and thrashing under them. Whilst their experiences were in many ways very similar, the eventual outcomes would take on different tangents as both came to terms with the events whilst searching for a better understanding of the reasons and rationales behind their adrenaline-charged stories.

A sight we know all too well but never want to see – the solid mass of a great white shark ascends from the dark depths, its tail sweeping from side to side as it comes in for a closer look. Great whites are highly curious animals that use their mouths as hands and often the result can be devastating for anything they come up to check out // Photo Elias Levy

During the first few minutes of the Jefferys Bay WSL event final, with the world watching live, a large great white shark erupted around Mick Fanning as he sat waiting for his first wave. It appeared to have him by the leg as he was tugged under and the thrashing fins engulfed him. For an agonising period of just seconds, which seemed like an eternity, we all held our breath waiting for Mick to surface – or not. Unbelievably he did and of course, the rest is now one of the most told stories on the planet this year – about the Cooly kid who punched a shark and won his freedom.

The intense reflective emotion came surging in for Mick not long after he was back on dry land // Photo Kelly Cestari / WSL

Also watching that night was the other Mick – or Mike as his mates call him – and his heart sank into his stomach as he too saw the live coverage. Gold Coast surfer Mike Hoile had been living in his own shark-encounter whirlwind for several weeks following an uncannily similar experience at Lennox Point which saw him narrowly avoid becoming a breakfast snack for a large great white. Mike’s encounter was one in a string of recent shark incidents along the northern NSW coastline – an unprecedented series of shark related events that have now put the world’s surfing communities on edge.

Mike was on his annual holiday that he’s been taking for years, renting a magic pad in Lennox and getting some serious down time done whilst sliding down the magnificent point break’s edge. He’d been in that place many times before and was sitting inside the main take-off zone, down the point a little in an attempt to jag a few of the waves that might slip under the main pack.

Surfers Paradise teacher Mike Hoile was struck with force by a large great white shark at Lennox Head in early July and he’s been dealing with his own shark issues and mind recovery ever since // Photo Luke Sorensen

It was July 3rd, and the talk of sharks had already filled the air on the Lennox headland as a day earlier, bodyboarder Mathew Lee had been hit by a large great white at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach, just 8km to the south. Mr Lee suffered catastrophic injuries to his legs that left him fighting for his life. He is only now – more than a month later – beginning his long rehabilitation.

Mike was surfing with his brother Phil and the surf was pumping. They had been out for a while and were nearing the end of their session when all hell broke loose. Mike detailed his encounter to LiQUiFY –

“We were on edge anyway, because of the Ballina one the day before. Normally we would get out in the water about half an hour earlier than we did that day. From the verandah of where we stay, we could see there’s guys out surfing and we thought, well if they’re out there surfing … let’s go for a surf! The surf was absolutely pumping, a new swell, but the new swell stirred up the water a little bit – it wasn’t as clear. It had been, on the days prior, crystal clear and absolutely perfect as far as water visibility goes.

The damage might not have been as bad as first thought, but the shark’s bite marks left behind on Mike Hoile’s board offered up some tell-tale indicators. The shape, spacing and radius of the lower jaw’s tooth holes showed a 3 to 3.5 metre great white shark had taken a crack at Mike from behind and to his left // Photo Phil Hoile

“The swell had changed, it was a sort of angry swell, and I hadn’t quite got my head around surfing it, and in the early part of that session I wasn’t getting any good waves like the locals were. So I moved in a bit, and managed to snare a good one, from further inside, about 20 metres inside from where you’d usually jump off and paddle out and yeah, it was a beautiful wave – all the way through past the hut. I thought well, I’ll go back to that area again and try and get another good one.

Whilst Mike Hoile is all smiles and back to normal on the outside, he tells us he is slowly cutting through the psychological impacts – impacts that may have changed his entire outlook on life forever // Photo Luke Sorensen

“I’d been out a fair while, in the water. So I was just sitting there, looking out to sea and waiting for the next wave to come flying by. Then just out of the clear blue sky – bang – just like I’d been run over by a truck, or as if you were, say, sitting in your car and someone from out of nowhere smashed into your car and you didn’t see it coming. It was just so sudden, and you don’t think, well I didn’t think at the time, what’s happening, what’s going on.

“In the actual split-second that it happened, it’s almost like a monster, just a gigantor, had grabbed my surfboard and was holding it like it was in a vice – for that split-second – and that force threw me from my surfboard, with that force.

“Next thing you know I’m sitting in the water next to this massive shark, it seemed massive at the time – how big it was? I’m not actually sure. I’m next to this massive, extremely powerful marine species. I think the shark, and I, were probably like ‘well what do we do now?’ sort of thing, for that split-second, probably 1/100th of a second really but it felt like at least 5 seconds. It was just sitting there right next to me, not moving, for what seemed like a long period of time.

“My reaction then was to grab my board, and put myself completely in the impact zone, get smashed to smithereens and go to shore.”

Mike had dodged a bullet and had he been laying on his board instead of sitting, the results most likely would have been horrific. A few weeks later, Mick Fanning would find himself in an eerily similar position, floating in the water next to his own large great white shark and making his own split-second decisions. The difference this time would be that it was being telecast live to millions around the world.

Fanning was on fire that afternoon, poised to take the final and cement his place at the top of the WSL leaderboard. Mother nature had other intentions though and not long after his semi-final scorcher, the competitive surfing universe would be thrown into disarray // Photo Robbie Irlam

We’re sure that every single person with internet access on the planet are familiar with Mick’s encounter in South Africa and have drawn their own conclusions – we’ve never seen so many keyboard experts and armchair biologists chime in on any single thing in human history. If the shark really wanted to attack Fanning, it would have. A mysterious entanglement with a curious predator was the more plausible explanation and situation, but that doesn’t diminish for a second from the reality that Mick Fanning was so close to such critical danger, and that he too dodged a bullet.

It doesn’t matter what we call it, an attack, an encounter, a love bite or accident – it only matters what Mick experienced, and he can call it whatever he wants because it was him out there punching a super predator and fighting for his safety – not us.

The coverage of Mick’s encounter, in high definition live broadcast, presented its own agonising situation for viewers, as we were forced to wait what seemed like an eternity to finally see Mick, and Julian Wilson, on the back of jetskis and unharmed. Camera angles and some quick-thinking live switches ensured that no matter how the event played out, the world wasn’t going to see the last moments of Mick Fanning. It turns out they might have been his finest moments as he literally punched the shark into submission, or at least startled it enough to flee.

A chaotic scene indeed. In the rush to rip Julian and Mick from the water, WSL water photographer Kelly Cestari was passed by all of the boats and skis, and left in the middle of it all, making his own nervous way slowly in to the rocks // Photo Robbie Irlam

Chaos ensued for a few minutes as Mick immediately began recounting his experience to Peter Mel and a camera crew on the awaiting boat – the shark presumably still swimming around somewhere beneath them. The rest, as they say, is history.

Mick had hundreds awaiting him on the beach, and was offered a view of the footage shortly after – the impact of the situation eventually sank in when he offered an incredibly raw interview – the adrenaline, the flooding emotion and the realisation hit like a tonne of bricks. Mike Hoile on the other hand – he didn’t have a video replay to watch and digest, there was no live TV audience, just a couple of witnesses to his own encounter. After a couple of brief TV grabs for the local media, he was left to go about his day and somehow seek some normality. The only thing Mike had to remind him of his encounter was a surfboard missing a fin and a few very substantial shark bite holes in the bottom.

Fanning’s return to the water hasn’t been a smooth run however he has said he’s looking forward to the rest of the tour and, in time, overcoming his psychological scars. His determination is still written all over his face // Photo Luke Sorensen

Fanning’s life, conversely, had instantly become a whirlwind of media hype, endless replays, speculative commentary and paparazzi pursuit. There were very few news agencies around the world, including LiQUiFY Magazine, that didn’t jump on his emphatic interviews and that graphic footage. We must admit though, as we watched on live we nearly burst out crying when we realised what was taking place and were waiting for what seemed like it was going to be an inevitable outcome. Miracle Mick had conquered the …


Mick Fanning Unveils New Anti-Shark Board Designs In Tahiti

Apparently it’s not just the colour, but the contrast that counts! Mick’s new switch from ‘yum yum yellow’ to cool blue hasn’t been his only change in an effort to make himself, and his boards, less attractive to predators. He has added a few new contrasting designs on the bottoms as well.

We’ve all seen the striped wetsuits and board designs before, but are Fanning’s new blue board designs something more acutely refined? Or is it just a cool design, crafted to make his boards contrasty whilst maintaining some level of style at the same time? He explains his rationale here in this clip –

For the last few years a company called Shark Attack Mitigation Systems (SAMS), along with scientists from the University of Western Australia, have been working on high contrast ‘shark repellent’  designs – for wetsuits and boards.

UWA’s Ocean Institute’s Professor Shaun Collin said, “The idea is to reduce the risk of the wearer in certain conditions … Many animals in biology are repelled by noxious animals – prey that provide a signal that somehow says ‘Don’t eat me’ – and that has been manifest in a striped pattern.

“We are using a lot of nature’s technology, based on high-contrast-based banding patterns. The wearer will be obvious, and the idea is the shark will see that as an unpalatable food item and swim right by.”

The shark repelling designs from SAMS
The zebra-styled design is used throughout the oceans to both protect prey from being eaten, and enable predators to confuse their own prey. These pilot fish are a great example – and they look pretty conformable even though they often spend long periods of time just centimeters from absolute death
The striped marlin uses it’s patterns to confuse and disorient its prey, helping it to divide and conquer a ball of baitfish … but does it also protect it from larger predators like sharks that may also be in the middle of a feeding frenzy?

But will it really work when it counts? It certainly didn’t affect Mick’s surfing ability, taking on his round one heat in Tahiti this morning like a beast, dominating in tricky and menacing conditions to skip straight to round three.

Mick Fanning of Tweed Heads, New South Wales, Australia (pictured) won his opening Round 1 heat of the Billabong Pro Tahiti at Teahupoo on 15 August 2015.  The Round 1 heat was Fannings first back in competition after his shark encounter at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa on 19 July 2015.
Mick Fanning won his opening Round 1 heat of the Billabong Pro Tahiti at Teahupoo on 15 August 2015. The heat was Fannings first back in competition after his recent shark encounter at J-Bay // Photo WSL/Cestari
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