Death In The Morning, Seal Attack In the Afternoon
Webcam footage shows two surfers being mauled by an aggressive mama.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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