I thought I was done: surfer describes close shave with shark

2016-02-03 08:31
Sacha Specker (Caleb Bjergfelt, Supplied to News24)

Sacha Specker (Caleb Bjergfelt, Supplied to News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - A surfer has described how he is still in shock days after other surfers came to his assistance when a great white shark started circling him in the water.

"I was literally ready, in full fight and adrenaline. My fists were fully clenched, facing it as much as I could, trying to take it on. It was reflex. I didn't have time to think about it," Sacha Specker told News24 on Tuesday.

The photographer and former bodyboarding world champion was surfing at Dunes in Noordhoek on Friday when another surfer screamed, "Shark, right behind you!", Wavescape reported.

Specker turned around and the shark dipped below him, before resurfacing and circling him four times, brushing his feet.

He described how it felt as though time stood still as he tried to keep the nose of his board facing the shark, which he estimated was about three metres long.

The shark later moved towards the beach, and he frantically paddled towards the other surfers. But then he saw the shark fin resurface, heading towards him.

"I thought I was done, it's coming back to finish me off," he recounted.

Camaraderie

Fellow surfer Mike Schlebach shouted at the other surfers to remain calm and paddle towards Specker. They surrounded him and the shark dipped underneath him and later disappeared, presumably scared off by their numbers.

They then paddled to the shore, and Specker could finally relax when they got to the beach and his feet were on the sand.

Specker said the situation where the surfers surrounded him was unusual in that the shark hung around for a long time, so the surfers had time to think about how to react.

"It was an instinctive feeling for Mike to do that, and it's amazing that the others did it. Having a few people around you instinctively makes you feel safer.

"Who knows what would have happened if it were not for their actions?"

Specker told News24 he knew some of the surfers, but not all of them. "There's camaraderie in the water. You will do all you can to help each other. We have all played that scenario out in our heads."

He has been back in the water since Friday, and doesn't think he will do anything differently in the future. "It all ended well. It was pure instinct, you have to be ready and never let your guard down."

Shock

There were shark spotters on duty that day, but they were at the other end of the beach and would not have been able to see the shark, he said, adding that the surfers were aware of the risk, as sharks are commonly spotted there.

Specker had another close encounter with a shark a few years ago, but he was just bumped in shallow water, and didn't see it coming as in this case.

For now, he is still dealing with the shock.

"It's a strange feeling. It doesn't feel like I've recovered. I'm processing, feeling, going over and over it in my head. I almost feel worse now, a few days afterwards," he said.

"It's feelings of being grateful, humbled, lucky, and then again, not quite sure how to deal with it."

Read more on:    cape town  |  shark attacks

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.