Swipe for an uneasy gallery from this morning. Photos: Jesse Little
Eerie Scenes And Local Insights From A Post-Shark-Attack Snapper
Who's brave enough to tell Occy he can't surf?
Yesterday, we reported that a surfer died at the Superbank after being attacked by a shark. It has since been revealed that the surfer was 46-year-old Gold Coast local Nick Slater.
In a blurry surf cam video (find it on the internet if you must), you can see a man sitting alone on an empty section of the point, before a brutal splash absconds him from view. The surfer disappears for several seconds, followed by more splashing, and finally he emerges. Meanwhile, two of the surfers nearest Nick turn around belly waves to shore.
“I feel like in a lineup with so many people, surely there could have been a chance to save the man’s life,” says Coolangatta local and former CT surfer Mitch Crews. “But I guess I wouldn’t know what would come over me if I was in that situation. I’d hope my human instinct would immediately kick in to go help and hopefully be able to protect the person in some way, but I just don’t know.”
Nick was eventually helped to shore by some brave samaritans, but he was lifeless by that point and sadly never regained consciousness.
“It’s unbelievable it happened,” Mitch continued. “Never has it ever crossed my mind that it could happen here at home, like right on my doorstep. It’s obviously been a problem over the border in NSW without the nets and smart drumlines, but this is crazy.
“Because it’s extremely crowded, but the Superbank feels like the safest surf place in the world. You would never imagine something like a fatal shark attack going down. But it happened.”
According to a local news report, a shark tooth was found lodged in the victim’s board that has been ascribed to a 3.5+ meter Great White. Local coast guards have had boats, skis, and helicopters out since early morning trying to locate the shark. What they plan to do with the fish if they find it, we’re not sure.
At the time of writing, Gold Coast beaches from Snapper to Burleigh are officially closed. However, there were a few surfers out along the Superbank this morning, including 1999 World Champ and man-who-fears-no-fish, Mark Occhilupo, who’s been collecting a bounty of two-foot tubes amongst a non-existent crowd (see the somewhat eery gallery above for context).
Most surfers, however, seem to be taking it easy.
“I’ve been surfing twice a day everyday for the past couple weeks,” Mitch said. “Now this morning I don’t know how to feel. The forecast is good for the whole week. I think I’m going to maybe take today to cruise at least.”
Our thoughts remain with the Slater family and wider Gold Coast community. Please watch out for one another and be safe.