How’s this for close?
Watching the footage above, you’ve got to ask yourself how many times you might’ve been floating there casually on your board while a great white (or two) cruised below, having a curious sniff.
Maybe it’s something you’d prefer not to know, like what position you were conceived in or how young the Bangladeshi kid was that made your shirt.
Rob Dent, one of the fellas copping the blokey treatment from Karl Stefanovich, is definitely happy to let it remain a mystery. He surfs most days and reckons it could be a fairly common occurrence.
‘If I thought about it I wouldn’t go in the water,’ the long-time Forster surfer said. ‘It probably happens a lot and we don’t really know.’
Rob was out at Tuncurry Breakwall with around a dozen others when the video was shot, and as he told the Today show crew, not one of them had the slightest clue there were a couple of man-eaters sharing the line-up with them.
But as grateful as Rob was to Adam Fitzroy, the drone pilot who captured the footage and simultaneously called them in, he said it was good to get a glimpse of how the sharks behaved.
‘That was kind of reassuring,’ he said. ‘Obviously they didn’t want to eat us.’
Adam, who isn’t a surfer himself but who’s had ample opportunities now to film great whites around his local stretch of coast, tends to agree.
‘It’s comforting to know the more I film them, the more I know they’re just inquisitive creatures,’ he said.
But that doesn’t mean he’s going to leave anyone to their own devices the next time he spots a shark having a sticky beak.
‘You see people and you see a shark and you just feel an obligation,’ he said. ‘I know an attack is unlikely but it’s the fear of the unknown.’
Adam reckons the annual mullet migration, which is in full force along a large part of Australia’s eastern seaboard at the moment, is responsible for bringing the sharks in so close.
Rob, on the other hand, is trying not to give it too much thought. He went for a paddle the next morning and has no plans to curb the habit.
‘It doesn’t bother me,’ he said. ‘I’ll keep taking the risk.’