SCARED — 2 September 2006 — Noordhoek beach, Cape Town, South Africa — surfer attacked
Surfer Steven Harcourt-Wood, 37, was surfing with friends at Noordhoek beach, Cape Town, South Africa on Saturday 2 September, when a 3.5-metre Great White tried to attack him while the other surfers looked on, according to a report on IOL.
He told the Cape Times: “It came at me, thrashing its tail and bashing the board.
“There was no doubt in my mind that he wanted to serve me up for dinner.”
The surfers were all caught in a flat spell in the surf and couldn’t get a wave to the beach.
“It was completely flat. We were stuck,” Harcourt-Wood said.
“And no one paddled away because the shark could have chased them.
“I was trying to get a look at its eyes and mouth so I could position myself correctly, but it was coming from far below the water.”
Harcourt-Wood said he squared up to the shark and paddled at it face to face.
“I think that’s what saved me. If you move fast or paddle away they are more likely to see you as prey and go for you,” he told the newspaper.
“The sharks were never a problem in the past – they’ve always been there but they never used to attack people.
“I’ve seen small ones out at the back from time to time but this is different.
“Their behaviour has changed completely.”
There is an ongoing debate in and around Cape Town whether chumming the water at nearby Gansbaai to encourage sharks to approach for shark-cage diving – a big tourist attraction – has lead to a noticeable increase in the number of unprovoked shark attacks in Cape Town waters in recent years.
Great White sharks are a protected species in South Africa.