‘Don’t surf’, officials warn after shark attacks in WA
THE biggest names in world surfing have been warned to stay out of the water on a lay day of the Margaret River Pro following two shark attacks on Monday on surfers near the competition site in Western Australia and more sightings on Tuesday.
Before midday on Tuesday there were three more sightings of sharks via aerial surveillance near Busselton, Yallingup and Wilyabrup.
Earlier, former world champion Gabriel Medina taking to social media to voice his concern.
"Today (Monday) they had two shark attacks on a beach next to which we are competing. I don't feel safe training and competing in that kind of place, any time (thing) can happen,'' Medina posted on Instagram after the attacks.
World No.1 Italo Ferreira also voiced concerns.
"Very dangerous, don't you think?'' posed Ferreira on Instagram before asking: "Is the safety of athletes not priority? We've had multiple alerts. Life is worth more!
I hope it doesn't happen to any of us. I don't feel comfortable training and competing in places like this."
Officials called off Tuesday's competition late on Monday due to a forecast of deteriorating surf conditions and onshore wind.
But on Tuesday, organisers also posted a warning to their surfers to stay dry and not free surf in the area.
The world tour event was put on hold for an hour while organisers assessed the situation following the first attack on Monday about 15km from the contest site.
After safety management was shored up with additional jet skis in the water and drones in the air, top female surfers including world champion Tyler Wright and six-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore were sent out to fight for places in the quarter-finals of the World Tour event.
"The WSL continues to assess the current situation at the men's and women's Margaret River Pro, where there have been two confirmed shark incidents near Gracetown in the last 24 hours,'' the WSL said in a statement.
"We have actioned our well-established safety protocols and are gathering all the latest information to determine next steps. We will continue to liaise with all involved, most importantly the surfers, their safety remains paramount.
"Today's competition (Tuesday in Western Australia) has already been called off and all surfers have been advised not to surf in the area. We are constantly evaluating the situation and will update as soon as possible.''
The first man attacked, Alejandro Travaglini, has undergone leg surgery in Perth. A tooth was found in the bite of Jason Longrass, the second surfer attacked.
When competition resumes, Wright and Gilmore will contest the quarter-finals with Australians Owen Wright, Julian Wilson and Joel Parkinson set to compete in third-round heats.