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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Tue, 3 April 2018

A 19-year-old surfer was bitten by a shark at the Seal Point beachbreak this afternoon at 15:10pm as the locals enjoyed surprisingly good waves. Craig Jarvis was there.


SURVIVOR: Ross Spowart is transported away from the beach. Photo Craig Jarvis

The waves were surprisingly good this morning, and for the first time in a while I ventured out at Seals for a fairly crowded surf before heading in to the office. The water was warm, there was a fair amount of sea life activity in the water, fish jumping around. Waves were good - 3-4 and slight south bend on the swell.

At about 15:10 Ross Spowart, 19, was attacked by a shark at the beach-break. According to eye-witnesses he was pulled under water, for a few seconds, before he was released.

I arrived when Ross was on the bench at the carpark and was being attended to.Ross paddled himself to the beach, where the lifeguards took over. They were assisted by the local NSRI crew who were on it, the Shark Spotter, as well as Dr Malan. There was a shark attack kit with the Shark Spotter and it was put to good use.

I arrived when Ross was on the bench at the carpark and was being attended to.

Ross had a nasty looking gash to the left knee area, but was calm and coherent throughout. He was taken to the hospital by Private Care, and was in good spirits when leaving the beach.


SHARK SIGN: The information board at Seal Point updated after the incident. Photo Ant Smyth

shark-seal-pointThere hasn’t been a shark attack at Seal Point for a long time. There have been numerous sightings and a few encounters over the years. I've been buzzed three times in the 12 years I have lived in the area. So have many of us. Everyone has a shark story for the pub, but Ross’s story is now a bit better than ours.

A scary situation, but great work by all the medical staff, lifeguards and others saw the situation being dealt with in a calm and efficient manner.

There are rumours swirling around about some chumming that was allegedly going on in the bay, but these rumours have not been substantiated nor investigated as of yet.

Anthony Smyth, gold and silver medallist at the World Adaptive Surfing Champs in 2016 and 2017, was surfing about 1.5 hours before the attack and said that a long line trawler had been chumming offshore the day before.

"This morning I could smell a whiff of bait. Not sure if it is related, but pretty coincidental!"

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