Can you imagine making the call to start running heats again at the Margaret River Pro at this point? Would you want that level of responsibility? Two shark attacks in one day, damn near the contest zone, sketchy footage of a shark in a wave surfed by John John during a heat (check the 9:30-ish moment in this vid), sharks spotted in the area the week before the event, whale carcasses on the beach and salmon running offshore—who wants to paddle out into that maelstrom?
Not Gabby Medina or Italo Ferreira, according to their Instagram accounts. They can’t be alone.
It’s difficult to imagine the nerves it would take to decide it’s all clear and the competition should continue, the whole time worried about the unthinkable happening and a competitor suffering a serious attack for the whole world to see. Well, not so unthinkable with all the shark activity in the area. But you get the idea.
How could you be sure the area was safe? Enough to quell the yammering heart after sending out competitors? What’s a surf contest worth, in other words?
The event is mired in a planned lay-day already, but the WSL is advising surfers to avoid surfing anywhere near the contest site. An ominous sign.
If it were up to me, I’d pull the plug on the whole event. Even if the shark sightings taper off after a day or two, it’d be awfully hard to sit up there in the executive scaffolding, watching John John bob around, constantly wondering uneasily what’s lurking below.
What do you think? Would you run it?
Update: footage of one of yesterday’s attacks has surfaced here.