Surfer describes moment shark is spotted during J'Bay competition

An international surfing competition at Jeffreys Bay was halted when a shark was spotted on July 5, 2018.
An international surfing competition at Jeffreys Bay was halted when a shark was spotted on July 5, 2018.
Image: Instagram/WSL

The World Surf League’s international surfing competition in Jeffreys Bay was interrupted on Thursday - for the second time this week - when event officials spotted a shark swimming in the direction of the competition zone.

Conner Coffin‚ a competitor from the US‚ said everything was proceeding normally this morning until suddenly there were a bunch of jet-skis flying towards him.

“I knew what that meant.”

Coffin praised organisers for their awareness and response to the shark sighting.

“It’s awesome how quickly the WSL got things under control and it is nice to know that they always know what else is in the water with us.”

After ensuring the area was clear‚ the competition resumed.

Just last year‚ in the quarterfinal heat of the J-Bay Open surfing competition‚ the proceedings were placed on hold when event organisers and safety teams began tracking a 3m Great White shark that was swimming into the competition line-up.

And three years ago‚ Australia’s Mike Fanning had an encounter with a Great White at Jeffreys.

Fanning punched and kicked at the shark‚ which had circled around him‚ before swimming towards a jet-ski‚ which took him back to shore unscathed.

“Every year at J-Bay there is a problem with big sharks” Twitter user Funkifiknow commented.

“I know the surf is insane and it’s the ‘holy grail’ of the world tour‚ but after what almost happened to Fanning‚ is it worth it? Lightening can strike twice...”

Ross Kirby commented on the WSL’s Facebook page: “The shark at Margaret River (Pro‚ in Australia in April this year) was 10km away and they cancelled the event.”

“This event (at Jeffreys) has sharks swimming through the line-up every year and Fanning was attacked‚ nothing happens” he said.

Commenting about the shark spotting that also interrupted the competition on Tuesday‚ posted this scathing comment: “…. The inevitable shark stoppage (has) become such a part of this event here that it can almost be laughed off dismissively. The water was cleared but there was never a chance this thing would stop.

 “Western Australian taxpayers might well be pissed. The tour just upped and left with their taxpayer dollars without a shark in the lineup‚ while a toothy brute cruises through the lineup here and it feels like the 1pm dolphin show at Sea World.”

WSL’s commissioner‚ Kieren Perrow‚ said on Thursday the organisation was continuing to monitor the shark situation.

“We have drones and the skis monitoring the situation to keep everyone safe‚” he said.

- TimesLIVE