Paddler escapes shark attack
February 01 2008 at 08:03AM
Glenwood surfski paddler Wayne Symington, 42, had a close encounter with a 2m blacktip shark while on a training stint 3km off the Suncoast Pirates beach on Tuesday when he was thrown off his ski.
"I was paddling at a fast rate out near where the ships are anchored when I was catapulted out of my ski when the shark hit the rear, tearing a big chunk out of it.
"I knew immediately it was a shark which had attacked me and that to survive I would have to get back on my ski as fast as possible, which I managed to do and luckily I still had my paddle in my hand," said Symington.
"As I turned the ski back towards the shore it began to sink as water poured in through the hole, but a big bubble of air got trapped up front and the nose of the ski lifted out of the water.
'I was functioning on pure prayer and adrenaline'
"I guess it took me about half-an-hour to get back to the line of shark nets and I was functioning on pure prayer and adrenaline," he said.
He had to jump off his ski at the nets to drag his ski over them after it became snagged before he got back to the beach safely.
On Wednesday Symington paid a visit to Jeremy Cliff, the curator of the Natal Sharks Board, who matched the imprint of the shark's bite on the ski with a specimen of a blacktip's jaws and estimated the length of the shark to be 2m.
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