Death In The Morning, Seal Attack In the Afternoon - Stab Mag

Watch: The Electric Acid Surfboard Test, Starring Shaun Manners

Kudos to everyone who stepped in to help. Not kudos to everyone else.

Death In The Morning, Seal Attack In the Afternoon

Webcam footage shows two surfers being mauled by an aggressive mama.

news // Oct 28, 2023
Words by Craig Jarvis
Reading Time: 3 minutes

It was a weird day in Jeffrey’s Bay.

Small waves, offshore, and a provincial competition taking place at a lesser-known break in town. 

During the course of the morning, we fielded a call informing us that a local surfer called Tony Cloete had suffered a fatal heart attack in the Cape St. Francis car park after an early morning surf. We saw it posted on Facebook and phoned the guy, Dave Lipshitz, who had posted it.

The devastating news was true — we had lost a good friend in Tony, an old-time competitive and freesurfer. After a long chat about life, lost friends, and surfing, Dave Lipshitz told us he would paddle out at the point J-Bay, some 30 minutes away, to have a surf and think about Tony. “Life’s short; might as well go surfing,” he said to us, or words to that effect. 

A few hours later, there a WhatsApp message revealed that there had apparently been a quite vicious seal attack at Point. It was Dave who had been attacked. I phoned him again. 

When we reached him, he was en route to Greenacres (the hospital in Port Elizabeth). The phone call went something like this.

Dave’s mangled hoof.

Stab: Dave, what the fuck is going on, bru? I haven’t phoned you twice in one day, in like forever. Was that you in the photos? Are you ok?

Yes. Fucken seal nipped me good and proper. 

What happened?

So it went for this other guy, Wayne, and hit him hard and knocked him off his board. Then it went back for Wayne, who was now in the water, so I paddled up and tried to grab Wayne and get him onto my board. (Dave rides a big board with loads of volume, so there is plenty of space for two).

Why did it go for him?

Wayne was heading for the rocks, and the seal came off the rocks and just went straight for him.

Oh shit. There was a pregnant seal at Supers yesterday, giving birth, I think. It could have been that one.

Yes, it could have been. I also heard of another pregnant seal in the area. So it might have been a seal protecting its young.

I have never heard of this sort of attack, though.

Neither have I, let alone been in the midst of it.

So what happened? 

I managed to get Wayne onto my board, but then the seal started coming for me.

Was it a big creature? One of the massive round ones?

No, it wasn’t that big. It was an adult, but it wasn’t huge.

So then it went for you.

Ya, it went ballistic and started biting me over and over. It was really not happy, and was snapping at me and latching on, and I was fighting it off. At one stage, it gripped me so tight, but I managed to push it away, but it came back at me again. It really was just so aggressive, just teeth out and biting. 

So heavy. 

We made it to the beach and were both a little shaken. Wayne wasn’t that badly injured, but he had a few puncture wounds. I think I got the brunt of the attack. 

Are you going to be ok, bru? Anything we can do to help?

No, it’s not too bad. I’ll be fine. It will definitely need stitches. It’s not that sore right now, but I know it will get really painful later. Hopefully, they will give me some lekker painkillers. 

Bit of a worry with so many kids and beginners surfing in and around the Point area. 

I know. People need to be aware of the situation for the next few days. 

RIP Tony Cloete. Get well soon, Dave Lipshitz.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Full Frame: Tosh Tudor’s Black’s Beach Excavation

Jimmicane explains a water-angled San Diego gem.

Dec 6, 2023

Unlocked: ‘Growing Normal On The Phone’ — A Visual Epitaph To Shaun Manners’ Adolescence

"I was accelerating so fast in a certain direction that I kinda ricocheted off into…

Dec 6, 2023

Tahitian Government “Pauses” Construction Of Teahupo’o Tower After Mass Backlash

A positive case of "Stick-it-to-the-man-eosis".

Dec 6, 2023

Russia’s Best Surfer Won A National Title In A Lake Before Posting Up In Indo 

Nikita Avdeev plans to shed light on Russia's begrudging surf scene.

Dec 6, 2023

Surfing And Cricket: Sports Of Lords

The only things worse than watching paint dry.

Dec 5, 2023

Watch Now: We Scored Mainland Italy With Leonardo Fioravanti 

Bet you didn't know the Mediterranean Sea could look like this.

Dec 4, 2023

World #4 Joao Chianca Hospitalised After Multiple-Wave Hold Down At Pipe

“His board was tombstoning and when they got to it, he was stuck at the…

Dec 3, 2023

Why Is The WSL (Really) Not Going To J-Bay In 2024?

An analysis of politics, exchange rates and sponsorship dollars at South Africa's premier point.

Dec 3, 2023

Teahupo’o Reef “Massacred” By Olympic Barge

Should surfers boycott the IOC?

Dec 3, 2023

Two Percent’s “Smooch” Starts With Kanye, Ends With Crosby, Lives Up To The Hype

A visual representation of California's world-class surf renaissance.

Dec 2, 2023

The Electric Acid Surfboard Test Starring Shaun Manners, Episode Two

Solitude at last.

Dec 1, 2023

“It’s A Huge Cash Prize And We Never Make Money Anymore — We’re All Only Thinking About Winning”

Nine young talents respond and reflect on their 2023 Vans Pipe Masters invites.

Dec 1, 2023

The Floater: Relevant Roof Ride Or Unflushable Turd?

Careful what you wish for, floater haters. Because in a surf world without them, Kelly…

Nov 30, 2023

Full Frame: Portuguese Serendipity 

Torrey Meister by Joao Bracourt, somewhere in southern Portugal.

Nov 28, 2023

Red Bull No Contest Drops Anchor In Tahiti, Gets Treated To Region’s Deadly/Non-Deadly Waves + Address Tower Controversy

Featuring the first man to surf Teahupo’o, the Spartan, and two (likely) future Olympic medallists. 

Nov 28, 2023

Russell Bierke’s SEOTY ‘Snapped’ Noa Deane + Conjured Demonic Screams At The Opening Prem In Milton

‘Not many people treat big, solid waves like a fucking play pen,” explains Noz.

Nov 28, 2023

The 10th SEOTY Entry Features The Odd 13-Second Cathedral

Watch ISA World Junior Champ Grayson Hinrichs in 'Surfish'.

Nov 26, 2023

Jai Glindeman Samples Parko’s ‘Golden Child’ Board, Unlocks New Facets Of Already-Stellar Surfing

Come bask in the ascension.

Nov 25, 2023