Victorian surfer “lucky to be alive” after shark attack off Portland beach

A Victorian surfer said he was lucky to be alive after being attacked and bitten by what is believed to be a bronze whale shark off the coast of Portland in southwestern Victoria.

The Heywood man, in his 40s, was surfing alone on Tyrendarra’s unsupervised beach on Thursday night when the attack occurred.

The man, who asked not to be identified, said he saw seals entering the water before the attack.

“Then I felt a bite and a bit of a splash on the back of my board… and then the shark came over to my right,” he said.

“It bit into my wetsuit on my left thigh, and from there it kept coming back each side.

“Whenever I saw her head or she was near me, I tried to hit her as hard as I could.”

The man said he managed to free himself from the shark and paddled straight to the beach.

He then went to the Portland District Hospital before undergoing surgery at the Warrnambool Base Hospital for a tendon injury in his hand.

He said the shark was at least six feet long and was “copper” and “most likely a bronze whaler”.

It is the latest in a series of shark attacks this month.

Professional surfer Mick Fanning survived an attack in the final of the Jeffreys Bay competition in South Africa.

On Saturday, a recreational scallop diver was killed by what was believed to be a great white shark off the east coast of Tasmania.

“I just can’t believe how lucky I am… I feel for family in Tasmania, it could have been my family,” he said.

Surf Life Saving Portland’s training assessment supervisor Katrina Anthony said sharks have been known to frequent the area.

“From Narrawong to Cape Bridgewater… we also have a seal colony which is located at Cape Bridgewater, so we know we have sharks in our waters,” she said.

“We wouldn’t tell anyone to avoid the water, but we’re just saying be careful, swim or surf with someone else and make sure you let people know where you are going if you are going to swim. or surf late in an unsupervised area. ”

Earlier this year, an increase in shark activity in the area prompted a Portland ecotourism operator to set up cages on a new seal snorkeling platform.

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Sandy A. Greer

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