Stab Magazine | Stingray Assaults Bondi Surf Instructor

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Stingray Assaults Bondi Surf Instructor

And you thought German backpackers and foil boards were your only concerns. 

news // Jan 14, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Bondi Beach is a terrifying stretch of coastline: There’s heart-stoppingly stunning sorts along the shoreline. Deadly and unrestrained German backpackers with 8-foot fibreglass blades. Chris Friend, who has a near-lethal forehand whack. And occasionally there’s a few biggish waves that might relegate you to the northern kiddies corner.

Shark attacks at Bondi are a rarity – there hasn’t been one in nine years, and there wasn’t one in the 80 years prior to that. Stingrays on the other hand are abundant. And a few days ago, despite their docile and defensive nature, one hooked into the ankle of an unsuspecting surf instructor in the shallows.

“I stepped on it while walking a group of kids out in the shallows and it struck me with its barb on my ankle.” Sam Allan, the surf instructor told Stab. “I didn’t know what it was at the time, and kinda thought I was going to be sweet.”

The committed altruist that Sam is, he stayed in the water and continued to teach for over half an hour. That was until the venom started to set in and the learners caught on to a consistent amount of blood billowing out of his foot. 

“When I went in I just tried to put a normal bandaid over it.” Sam continued. “That didn’t really work [laughs]. Then one of the boys told me to head to the lifeguard tower.

“It wasn’t like I was going to die or anything, but the blood was a bit much and my leg starting to kill as the venom went through it. The lifeguard tower patched it, they filmed it for Bondi Rescue which was weird, and then I ended up driving home. Kinda thought it would be sweet.”

Sam’s ankle post-clean up but pre-surgery. And no, we’re not sure what’s going on with that leg tan either.

The issue with stingrays however is the aftermath of the barb. Sometimes you’ll be sweet and a bit of hot/boiling water will numb the pain, but often with bigger stingrays, the barb breaks off and lingers in your limb.

“When I got home my chick made me go straight to hospital.” Sam continued. “Found out that the wound was full of the barb and I had to get surgery to get it out. Kinda heavy now I think about it [laughs]. Put me under for a few hours to remove all the barbs and clean out the wound.

Nothing better than a beetroot coloured leg, bandage, and a pair of Birks.

“Now I’m on antibiotics for a week to prevent bacterial infection and can’t surf [or work] for a few weeks more. It didn’t go through any arteries or tendons thankfully, so it wasn’t as if I was going to die, but it still fucking hurt a bunch. Can’t drink on these antibiotics either which is rough.”

Sam’s now Birkenstock and bandage bound for the next few weeks and also left with a nice anti-bacterial chemical stain all over his leg. Thankfully, his story serves as a nice warning to anyone ever considering surfing the deadly Bondi Beach. 

If you do however wish to brave the oceans, then your best bet is to adopt the stingray-scaring-shuffle, or, you know, get on your board and paddle out.

A few weeks out of the brine around here in summer isn’t all that harrowing, but a couple weeks off the piss sure is. Stay safe out there, and maybe wear a pair of 5mm boots through the remainder of the summer. 


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