Surfers ‘steering clear’ of water after shark attacks
SURFERS are abandoning the waters in droves as shark attacks on Northern Rivers beaches escalate dangerously.
"Normally surfers will go out in anything," said national and international surf judge Nick "Zippy" Pearson, of Suffolk Park.
"But they don't want to risk it at the moment unless it's really good surf.
"Everyone is a bit worried. I've been living in the Byron Bay area for 30 years and this is the worst I've seen it.
"A friend of mine who flew over the waters from Byron Bay to Ballina this week said there were so many sharks in the water it was only a matter of time before someone else got attacked.
"There are a lot of people steering clear of the water."
Mr Pearson, a lifelong surfer, said he had always seen sharks in the waters while he was surfing.
"They swim underneath you and I've been chased in before," he said.
"But I have never seen them like this.
"There are so many big sharks and they are coming a lot closer to shore."
Mr Pearson said the fact that great white sharks had been protected for around 15 years may have allowed numbers to build up.
"Small sharks have become big sharks."
He said the fact that there were a lot of bait fish, as well as whales, in the water, were factors in drawing the sharks in.
"They are also coming in closer looking for food.
"We need to work out some way of telling surfers where they are.
"Meantime everyone needs to keep their eyes out.
"If you see a shark you get a bit of a jolt.
"But it's the one you don't see that gets you."