Such a wonderful collective noun – Australia’s busiest beach gets a visit from a few unwanted guests.
It seems like every day there’s a new shark story. Attacks and sightings are such a regular occurrence now; it’s just become part of life for us surfers. Earlier in the week, Joe Hoffman had his arm badly mauled by a shark at Crescent Head and despite the increased incidence in fatal attacks in Australia in the last year and a half (With eight fatalities in 2020, Australia was the deadliest location for shark attacks in the world) we are often willing to take a daily risk when surfing.
There is information out there; a quick scan on the ‘Dorsal’ site will give you all the encouragement you need to stay out of the water. Big ones seem to be 'pinged' every couple of hours at spots regularly frequented by surfers, but most of us will surf on with the assumption of impunity.
This footage was taken at Bondi, where lifeguards sat with a rumored 8-foot shark for close to three hours, waiting for it to leave the bay. The shark species in question is unconfirmed but Tracks spoke to one of the lifeguards, Eddie, who was on the ski and had a theory. "They looked like grey nurses but were definitely smack bang in the middle of the flags." Others speculated it was either a bronze whaler or great white lurking in the bay. It is worth noting that Bondi is netted ( they don't go to the bottom all the way across), drum-lined, and closely monitored for shark activity to protect the sheer number of visitors and tourists the beach attracts. So, having three significant-sized sharks this close to shore is pretty damn surprising.
If there is one thing drone footage has confirmed, it's that there seems to be a direct correlation between the presence of sharks and those inky-black bait-balls you regularly spy drifting by. If you see a big school of fish close to shore then there is certainly a chance something big and toothy is herding it on the other side. The biggest risk in this instance may be a case of mistaken identity – that arm or leg dangling over the side might be confused for one of the juicy dog salmon in the bait ball. Still, will the sight of bait-balls stop us from surfing? Probably not.