Calvin Galbraith (17) was bitten by a shark while surfing at a Halls Head beach, Western Australia.
Injuries to foot and lower leg.
Shark bites teen surfer
26/03/2009 10:14:00 AM
HALLS Head surfer Calvin Galbraith is one lucky teenager.
The 17-year-old managed to escape the jaws of a shark with just six stiches while he was surfing at a Halls Head beach last Friday.
At 6.45pm, Calvin, along with three friends and his brother Scott, were 30m offshore just north of Blue Bay trying to catch one last wave into shore.
The TAFE student felt something grab hold of his leg.
Gradually the grip got tighter and pulled Calvin down off his board.
“It felt like my leg was being clamped in a vice,” the teenager said.
“I looked down and my whole foot was in its mouth then I saw a tail thrashing in front of me; that was when I realised it was a shark.”
Calvin described the shark as being roughly 2m long and grey/brown in colour.
“It was definitely bigger than me… it was pretty scary.”
He then shook his leg and luckily the shark eased off and Calvin managed to free his leg from its mouth.
Once his leg was free he shouted “shark” to warn his friends Ben Hardman, Ben Lesson, Phil Slabber and his younger brother and they paddled as fast as he could to shore.
Scott, 13, then ran to their nearby home to get their mother to take Calvin to hospital.
The surfer was carried out of the water by his mates and taken to Peel Health Campus.
He returned from hospital later that night.
Swimming at Blue Bay since he was six years old, Calvin said it was the first shark he had seen at the beach.
From Calvin’s description Fisheries regional metropolitan manager Tony Cappelluti said the shark may have been a small bronze whaler.
“We’re very grateful he hasn’t been greatly injured,” Mr Cappelluti said.
While sharks were uncommon in the area he said people needed to be vigilant and if a shark was spotted to call the Water Police on 9442 8600 which is a 24/7 service.
“From Secret Harbour to the Dawesville Channel, no area is any more dangerous than the other.”
“We recommend people avoid going into the water at dusk and dawn and if there is large schools of fish where sharks might be active and feeding.
“I’m not necessarily saying sharks might be there at those times but it does attract them.”
Mr Cappelluti said the Water Police should be notified so they could implement their response, assess any risk and take further action if required.
Ironically Calvin’s father Ian was bitten by a shark in South Africa 16 years ago and required 33 stiches to his foot and leg.
Calvin’s friends did not seem bothered and went surfing at the same break again the following day.
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