Surfer uses board to fight off shark
A surfer has described how he fought off a 2m shark when a feeding frenzy involving up to 16 sharks erupted at South Trigg beach yesterday.
Rich Wands, 33, of Cottesloe, said he was surfing 30m offshore about 8.30am when the shark started to circle him and swam beneath his board.
"I was basically trying to follow it as it circled me, then it came round and it rammed me," he said.
The drilling engineer picked up his board and used it to smash the shark's face again and again, until it swam away, but it came around and went for him again.
"It was going to happen, this was a final attack," he said. "I had to do something or I was going to lose an arm or a leg."
He hit the shark again, then yelled to alert others in the water and paddled furiously to shore. Only when he reached the sand did he realise he had been in the middle of a feeding frenzy.
He ran about 300m and alerted a surf lifesaving officer, who sounded the alarm and shut Trigg and Scarborough beaches, which remained closed until about 4pm.
About 10 other surfers were with Mr Wands and children were playing in the shallows and all paddled in when the alarm sounded.
Brody Martin, 12, was knee-deep in water when he saw a metre-long shark about 10 metres away.
"I felt excited. I've never seen a shark before," he said.
He walked back to shore after his mother's friend screamed at him to get out of the water.
Hundreds of people watched as Tiger sharks swarmed only 20 to 30m off shore, feasting on a dolphin carcass for about four hours.
The stranded dolphin washed up near the water's edge about 5.30am. Department of Fisheries regional manager Tony Cappelluti said while feeding in this way was not unusual for this species, it was rare they swarmed in a crowded metropolitan area.
He said the department had no plans to hunt the sharks because the beaches had been cleared successfully and no one was at risk.
Fisheries Minister Norman Moore said the authority to kill a shark lay with the director-general of the Department of Fisheries and could only happen if a shark posed an "imminent threat" to humans.
City of Stirling beach services coordinator John Snook said yesterday's incident was extremely unusual.
"Where the sharks are would probably be not more than 2 to 2.5m deep and having them this close to the shore . . . is pretty unusual," he said.