Part 6 - What surfers think

By Angie Davis

Instagram @angelahelendavis

Joel Fitzgerald @joelfitz_boards - Surfer / Shaper

Joel Fitzgerald. Pic via

Joel Fitzgerald. Pic via

“It's is always a risk to go into the water that is why I pay respect before I enter and always go in with the deepest respect for the sea life and the surfers, swimmers and all people that use the ocean and respect there safety… We will have to start thinking about our environment, how ecosystems maintain sustainability, and what can we do to help these fragile ecosystems. You know the planet we live on is in trouble so we have to do something about it. We are at the tipping point now. People have the power and if we unite and stand together and not let the bad people destroy nature the environment and humanity then we have a chance.”

Derek Hynd - Surfer

Derek Hynd. Pic via The Inertia

Derek Hynd. Pic via The Inertia

“My relationship with the ocean will not change. I greatly respect the ultimate power of sea and bird life. I try to meld in. I feel at peace… I’m focused on shark cage chumming/diving at Capetown as being culpable for changed shark behaviour. I’m no expert on sharks so I can’t definitively comment but after 36 years surfing JBay each winter I’m trusting my gut about incidents from Capetwon all the way to Perth, down to South Australia, and Tasmania. Noted is that the once massive problem on the Wild Coast north of East London has diminished which to my mind has the shark has a lazy beast after an easy feed around the bottom at Capetown. Sharks can have small turf, but with breeds this territory can stretch half the Southern Hemisphere.”

Glen Casey @glen_casey - Surfer / Owner Patagonia Byron Bay

Glen Casey. Pic: Steve Ryan

Glen Casey. Pic: Steve Ryan

“I personally don’t see old school methods like culling, drum lines and netting a humane method of decreasing attacks, but in saying that if we have a bad, sick rogue shark making multiply attacks on our beaches and children then my belief is to remove it permanently. Sadly as much as I play in there oceanic world my belief is any action should be met by a similar reaction and in this world if you do wrong you should pay your karmic debt immediately and face your consequences.”  

Rhian Slapp @rhianjames - Surfer / Lennox Head

Rhian Slapp. Pic: Matt Tibbey

Rhian Slapp. Pic: Matt Tibbey

“The un-aimed arrow never theory on why there is more shark activity here is that as a society we’ve become more health conscious, eating less preservatives and artificial stuff, so maybe we just taste better?! No one knows why…we can’t rule that out. The one thing I really don’t like about it is that usually you go for a surf with your buddies to forget about anything that’s happening in your life. You just turn off, relax, have a great time, laugh, play. And now, everyone’s just looking at each other, stressing, and not even enjoying it. I just want that relaxed feeling back.

Matt Draper @mattdraperphotography - Underwater photographer / Byron Bay

“There is no such thing as guaranteed safety in the ocean. We are all visitors in an ever-changing environment. I am strongly against the cullying of any sharks. It is, in my view, a waste of taxpayer’s money, an ineffective measure and more importantly an act of animal cruelty. In my opinion we should be taking advantage of technology.

Allocating more money to areas with frequent shark sightings. This money could be used to purchase drones and hire people to aid as beach surveillance on popular surfing and swimming spots. Also more research and tagging of sharks could help to better understand their behaviour and get more accurate evidence in the rise of shark numbers in certain areas such as the Northern Rivers of NSW.

In saying that, there is always going to be a few rules of thumb that can help prevent an unwanted encounter such as being more in touch with your surroundings, taking into consideration of where you are surfing.”


To be continued - Part 7 - The Facts

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