Taj Burrow works on his latest shark-dodging air at J-Bay
"If you see a shark, wave your hands in the air, point at the water and head in." That's the new rule added by ASP officials today following Mick Lowe's Round Two heat at the Billabong Pro Jeffrey's Bay. Lowe spotted a shark mid-way through his heat, but stayed in to complete the win. "It was no dolphin," said Lowe after the heat, "I know what my eyes saw. I didn't really care for the rest of the heat, I just wanted to come in."
Ironically, the first heat with the new rule featured world number three Taj Burrow, who had a similar shark sighting during the same event in 2003. "When the Beach Marshall gave me my singlet and told me to do that signal if I saw a shark," said Taj, "I was like 'what!' It was pretty freaky. I am glad I didn't have to put my hands in the air that heat."
Despite the shark-infested waters, Round Three saw world numero uno Mick Fanning continue his road to glory. "I thought I saw something actually," said Fanning. "There was only a minute to go, so I thought I might just man up and not say anything. Luckily for me it was nothing." With the likes of Kelly, Andy, Taj, Mick, and Parko still in the hunt, the Billabong Pro is already living up to its hype.
While the rule doesn't get into specifics, at this point shark sightings do not affect priority or allow for a Jet Ski assist. If you do see a shark during your heat, a big white man-eater with hunks of seal hanging off its blood-splattered jaw-bone... you know, wave your hands in the air and point to the water. How bad could a shark attack really be? Couldn't be worse than an early exit at J-Bay. Could it?