There has been yet another shark attack near the Margaret River Pro contest site. Nothing else quite reminds of the uniqueness of a surf contest like the threat of shark attacks—no other pro sport provides such visceral danger. And the visceral dangers keep coming at Margies.
The Margaret River Pro was briefly put on hold yesterday after an attack on a surfer at Gracetown, roughly 15km away from the contest site. Last year, the Margies Pro was put on hold during the finals after a shark spotting. The surfer bitten yesterday, Alejandro Travaglini, is recovering in a Perth hospital after emergency surgery.
Just hours later, another surfer was attacked near the same spot. This time, it was a less severe attack on a man surfing a break called Lefthanders. He’d noticed the lineup was empty after the initial attack, heard something about a shark in the area, weighed the odds, and paddled out anyway.
He was bitten shortly after.
Gabby Medina and Italo Ferreira have already taken to Instagram to express their, let’s say, alarm, justifiably, at competing at a break where shark encounters are a real concern.
John John Florence had seen a shark in free surfs nearby last week, and local authorities have warned that a whale carcass rotting on the beach near Gracetown, site of the Margies Pro, could be drawing sharks.
Western Australia has long simmered with debate over how to handle increased encounters between sharks and humans, with drum lines and shark nets used, then abandoned after pressure from environmental researchers. Fifteen people have been killed by sharks in Western Australia since 2000.