Teeth marks clue to predator
By Steve Gee
February 05, 2007 12:00
THEY are the tell-tale bite marks that reveal the power of a great white shark attack in graphic new detail.
And while Dave Sparkes does not need any convincing how close he came to death following an attack on the North Coast, the bite marks in his surfboard have given experts a dramatic insight into how sharks strike.
The chilling photos come as bodyboarder Matthew McIntosh, 26, recovered in hospital yesterday after being mauled by a shark near Lennox Head on Saturday.
It is less than a week since Eden abalone diver Eric Nerhus gouged a white pointer in the eye before escaping the 4m-long killer's jaws.
At dawn on January 9 Mr Sparkes was surfing with a friend at Cellito beach, south of Forster, when a white pointer attacked from underneath by spearing its head into the underside of his board - throwing him into the water.
As he scrambled back on to the board and tried to catch a wave to shore, Mr Sparkes was consumed by the fear that the predator would strike again.
"The sense of anticipation was so frightening I can barely stand to think about it," he wrote in Tracks magazine.
"I could feel my heart pounding in my chest and even dipping my hands in the water to paddle took an enormous amount of will power."
Mr Sparkes said it was only when he made it back to shore and saw his board that he realised how close he had been to being killed.
Photos of his surfboard showed a deep dent in the bottom where the 2.6m shark's nose cannoned into it.
He was later able to piece together exactly what happened with the help of NSW Fisheries researcher Dennis Reid, who compared the bite marks with the jaws of a white pointer, mako, bronze whaler, black tip and tiger sharks.
Using the space and depth measurements, Mr Reid was able to determine the size and breed of shark, right down to the angle of attack.
"Based on the depth, spacing, shape and arc of the bite and teeth holes, as well as the vertical attack technique employed by the animal, Dennis concluded without doubt the attack was made by a great white," Mr Sparkes, wrote.
"The outline of the bite almost exactly matched the jaws of a 2.6m great white."
North Coast bodyboarder Matthew McIntosh was recovering at Lismore Base Hospital yesterday after being mauled by a shark as he surfed with friends near Lennox Head on Saturday.
Mr McIntosh's left leg was shredded after the shark grabbed him from behind as he rode a wave with two friends at Angel's Beach.
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Shark Attack Survivors News Archive for Shark Attacks in 2007.
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