Great White Shark Encounter in Sydney (Updated)

Sunday, 28 December 2008 11:15 | Written by 
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29 year old Steve Kulcsar was knocked off his fishing kayak by a 5m Great White Shark near Long Reef, Sydney, Australia.  The shark circled him for a minute while he trod water and tried to get back on his craft. 

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Video

The incident was captured on film by a fisherman on a "tinny" (a small fishing boat) nearby.  The video footage shows the shark cruising slowly around the boat and a group of kayakers who had rafted up alongside.  Click here for the original report and video.

Click here for an extended video on the BBC website - with sound

"Chilling, harrowing, frightening" report!

Although the newspaper reporter was clearly terrified by the story, Kulcsar apparently was not.  He's reported to have said that "I wasn't really worried about the shark, actually.  I knew it was there, but my first thought was to just get back in the kayak as quick as possible."

He went on to say that the shark had probably been attracted to his kayak when he made a sudden change of direction.  "When it cruised past me, I thought I was safe, so I went as quickly as I could in the opposite direction," he said.

"I think that was my mistake, because then it turned around and chased me.

"If I had stayed still, I think I would have been OK."

Surfski Encounters

Over the years there have been a number of encounters between Great White Sharks and Surfski paddlers.  Not one paddler has ever been seriously hurt (to my knowledge).

Click here for the stories of some South African incidents.

What to do

Cape Town based Great White Shark researcher Alison Kock says that she recommends stopping paddling if you spot a shark nearby.  "They're curious animals and have the same instincts as any other predator," she said.  "Think of your domestic pussy cat - jerk a piece of string in front of it and it's instantly attracted by the sudden movements."

If you end up in the water, don't panic and try not to splash.  Hold onto your ski and draw your legs up - make yourself as small and insignificant as possible.  If anything swim towards the shark as they tend to shy away from aggressive behavior.  Act like prey however, and you'll become prey!


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