Surfer tells of terrifying brush with shark
August 1, 2008 - 10:54AM
Close call ... Warrnambool surfer Aaron Seare.
A surfer chased by a shark off a Warrnambool beach yesterday has told of his terrifying ordeal.
The 2.4 metre shark, which may have been a great white, came within centimetres of biting his foot.
The shark then chomped his leg rope in two, its jaws less than a metre from the surfboard.
"It was the closest I've ever got to being munched," Aaron Seare recalled yesterday, a few hours after the scare.
The experienced 31-year-old surfer had paddled out on his own to the back breakers, 150 metres off Levys Beach, west of Warrnambool, about 10.30am.
"I had caught two waves and was heading out again when I spotted the shark circling about 30 metres away," Mr Seare said.
"It was about eight-foot long.
"Then it turned and made a beeline straight at me.
"I immediately paddled for shore as fast as I could.
"I felt a tug on the leg rope, but just kept going. I was freaking out."
It wasn't until he touched the beach and stood up that he realised his leg rope had been bitten in two.
Serrated bite marks indicate it could have been a sevengill or great white shark, Mr Seare said.
The realisation of how close he had come to serious injury or death didn't hit him until he reached the sand dunes.
"I had to sit down for a while when it hit me what really happened out there," he said.
The leg rope had been borrowed from a friend, but Mr Seare will be pressing to keep the yellow nylon cord as a souvenir.
Despite the ordeal he still plans to head out for a surf today, but will go with a companion.
He suspects the shark may have been hovering in the area because of a northerly breeze blowing odours from the nearby abbatoir over the ocean.
Mr Seare's theory was backed by Warrnambool Diving Services operator Bill Karoly.
"Sharks have poor eyesight but a very keen sense of smell," he said.
"Divers and surfers should get a Shark Shield, which they strap to their leg and it sends out electric signals which give a shark a zap if it comes closer than seven metres."
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