01/21/2015 - Diane Ellis - Australia - No Injury

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01/21/2015 - Diane Ellis - Australia - No Injury

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Australia shark attack January 2015 Shark teeth marks found in surfer's board - board snapped in two - Lucky there was No Injury

Shark teeth marks found in surfer's board snapped in two
By Samantha Turnbull and Joanne Shoebridge

Surfer Di Ellis thought a dolphin was responsible for knocking her off her board and snapping it in two, but it appears it may have been a shark.

The Yamba mother was at Wategos Beach in Byron Bay on Monday, where she was filming a pod of dolphins from her daughter Lilly's longboard.

"So I went a little bit further offshore than I normally would because they were further out and once I got out there they just disappeared and I thought 'oh, they don't want to be filmed, they're being a bit anti-social,'" Di said.

"So I paddled back to shore and went to catch a couple of waves and it wasn't long before they came back again, so I paddled back out so I'd be in their path, and I saw them coming.

"I was filming as they came, then I saw a couple come very quickly under my board, but then something suddenly hit me."

Di described the sensation of being hit from below the water as like an 'explosion.'

"Then I was suddenly floundering in the water with two pieces of board," she said.

"It's a high-performance Malibu which is a fairly light longboard, but it's still fairly solid. It was a clean break, instant.

"I think the board breaking took the impact and I sort of fell down between the two pieces."

Di's first thought was her friend Steve King who was attacked by a shark while surfing at Angourie in 2011.

"He described the same thing where something hit him from underneath and he was in the water and there was a lot of commotion," she said.

But, Di rationalised that because she had been amongst dolphins that it must have been one of them that knocked her off her board.

"I just thought 'wow, a dolphin just ran into me,'" she said.

"There was a stand-up paddle boarder nearby and I was very grateful because I felt like I wasn't alone, because we were a fair way out from the other surfers.

"He was looking around and he saw a small shark - it was only small - so I wasn't really panicked about it, and I was still thinking it was a dolphin."

The following day, Di showed the board to some friends, including board shaper Cal Liddle who noticed teeth marks in one of the fins.

"He noticed what looked like teeth marks on the big fin in the middle," Di said.

"You could see where something had hit one of the sidefins at the back and I think that impact at the back, pushing up, had made the board break where I was sitting on it.

"So, anyway, we're not very sure if it was a shark or dolphin."

Di also watched the video she recorded of the dolphins, but could not see what was responsible for the attack.

"You could see the dolphins as they quickly go past, but you can't see what's hit me from behind," she said.

"All you can see is bubbles and board and water and commotion, but I can't see what it might have been."

Despite the confusion, Di said she would be back in the water as soon as possible.

"When my friend was bitten, the shark hit him from underneath and took a really big bite out of his board and left a few razor marks on his leg," she said.

"And I happened to go down to the beach when it happened and the surf was really good that day and a couple of hours later I thought, 'the shark's made a mistake, it had a big bite of foam which it spat
out and it could've come back and eaten Steve but it obviously didn't want the person.'

"I actually went for a surf that day and I felt very safe because it made a mistake and learned that foam wasn't very nice.

"The same thing happened on Monday, whether it was a shark or dolphin, I have no doubt it didn't want to eat me, it could have when I was in the water."
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