I have seem a few sharks in my time and some too close for comfort and the fear and the surprise and the freak out no matter will always unnerve me. I have added this photo which at first glance looks like not much is happening but in actual fact it was one full on moment that had me questioning the choice I just made and if the moment arose again would I be prepared to do the same. The photo was taken at Cactus in the Great Australian Bight, South Australia, an area well-known for big sharks and attacks on humans, on this day there were some nice small waves coming onto Castles reef, every now and again and looked so inviting I went out to ride a few with Shiho my friend Paul’s wife. After a little while we were joined by a French guy and a we were all enjoying a beautiful day on the edge of the desert.
Then while waiting for a wave I saw a fin of a shark surface about 50 metres out to sea from me.It often surprise me how long it takes to register that it is a shark and I want out as quick as possible but after a few seconds I called to the others who were a little in closer to shore than me there is a shark let’s get out if here. I started paddling with everything I had we were about 150 metres from the beach, and waves were scarce, so my heart is going a hundred miles an hour and I know that the shark can bridge the 50 metres in seconds if it wants. A small wave starts to form up closer in and I know this is my ticket out phew I am safe, I am paddling hard to position myself for a free ride in and the french guy also is zeroing in on it, it going to be ok. Then I hear Shiho start calling out ‘don’t leave me, help me’ , fuck I am stressing now I am yelling at her to paddle hard but she is just learning and hasn’t the strength. Shit keep paddling I yell, she is almost in tears now the wave is almost upon us and it is time to get on this thing and out of this fucking jaws movie.’ Help me’ she yells again, shit I break my course of paddle and cut over and behind her. Don’t leave me is all I am hearing the wave is on my back now, and I give her a shove and she scoots down the little wave headed to shore with the french guy and that is when this photo is taken. You will notice just over to back of the wave is yours truly who missed the wave by going to help one in need and at that moment and a few more minutes after I will have to say I regret doing what I did. I dont want to live the rest of my life with one arm or whatever may happen in a shark attack situation, there wasnt another wave behind that on and I had plenty of time to think about the position I was in and how the hell I had put myself there, this wasnt my wife I had just rescued it was not my responsibility to look after her. I thought I could be able to get that wave as well but that didn’t happen and now I am paddling for my life, and allots going through my head about choice and I am mad at myself for doing what did. Sure it sounds dramatic but this is shark central and all surfers know it, it is scary and lonely out there, and by the time I get to shore and I am out of breath and shaking and relieved to be on dry land, but my mind is set, unless it is family if there is a shark it is everyone for themselves, chivalry is over rated.