“Shark In The Lineup!” Say World Tour Surfers
Turns out, no, it was just a clump of seaweed.
Today, at 12:35 pm in Torquay, Victoria, Championship Tour surfers Jack Freestone, Owen Wright, and local wildcard Harry Mann scrambled onto the water patrol sleds.
Conventional logic told us that someone had seen a shark.
For the next five minutes, the webcast showed skis surveying the area while the commentators tried to figure out what was happening.
Finally Peter Mel wrangled Kieren Perrow, contest director, who explained what was going on.
“A few people, including some of the surfers in the heat, saw a large, dark shadow going through a wave,” Perrow said. “After searching the zone, the jet skis found a large pile of seaweed that they believe was the actual culprit. They’ve assessed the situation and are confident that we’re safe to continue.”
Jack, Owen, and Harry returned to the water and finished their heat. Owen won, Jack got second, and Harry was sent home with the easiest 10-gees he’s ever made. Nobody was eaten.
In his post-heat interview, Owen explained that Jack had seen a shadow and informed the other surfers and skis. Owen then also saw the shadow, at which point he darted straight to the safety team. “It wasn’t worth waiting around to find out,” Owen laughed.
What’s your M.O. when there’s a dark figure underneath?
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