Aussie surfer holds ground against shark

Aussie surfer holds ground against shark
The surfer trying to paddle away from a shark that was tailing him in the waters near Perth. Great white shark ‘was only a body length behind’

A great white shark can be seen tailing a surfer back to shore, just two weeks before another man lost his arm and hand in a nearby shark attack near Perth.

Australian surfer Andy Johnston, 38, was riding the waves with his friends near Perth in September when a 2.7m-long beast started following him, reported the Esperance Express, an Australian newspaper.

Horrified onlookers who saw the shark began shouting and sounding their horns at the surfer to draw his attention.

At one point, the shark was only about 2m away.

Other surfers who had seen the shark rushed out of the water. But Mr Johnston tried a different approach, opting to keep calm and carry on.

"I'd rather try to hold my ground against it and not freak out and make a commotion," he told the Esperance Express.

"If you're going to get chomped, then you're going to get chomped. There's nothing you can do about it."

But he later admitted that he had not known that the great white was close to him as he was paddling into the wave.

The photos were taken by Mr Frits de Bruyn, whom Mr Johnston has not met and believes to have been a Tasmanian tourist holidaying in Esperance.

Mr De Bruyn, who spoke to UK's the Daily Mail, said: "We were at a lookout and we saw a shadow in the water. It became evident it was a shark and everyone started shouting.

"There were about a dozen surfers and paddleboarders in the water... It followed him to shore for a bit. It was only a body length behind."


Luckily, Mr Johnston caught a wave.

The shark followed him towards the shore then swam away.

Mr Johnston told Fairfax Media last Friday that he would do the same thing again if confronted by a shark.

He said: "When your number is up, your number is up. I actually said that to someone before I went out in the water that day.

"I saw some GoPro footage about a week after it happened. But I didn't see these photos until last night.

"It wasn't until I saw the photos that I saw how big the shark was - it was in my blind spot when I was in the water, so I couldn't really tell."

Two weeks after Mr Johnston's close encounter, surfer Sean Pollard, 23, was attacked at nearby Wylie Bay, east of Esperance, on Oct 2, reported the Perth Now newspaper.

He lost his left forearm and his other hand at the wrist in the attack.

This article was first published on Nov 3, 2014.
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