Surfer recounts close encounter with shark
The Marlborough Express | Tuesday, 11 December 2007
A Kaikoura surfer had a close encounter with a shark on Sunday after it chomped her surf leash in half and tried to catch a ride on her board.
Olivia Hislop was waiting for a wave at the Meatworks surf break when she felt something tugging at her surfboard. When she turned around she got the fright of her life to see a shark's face and upper body on her board gnashing its teeth about.
"I thought someone had come up behind me and was playing about", she said.
Hanging half off the board herself, Olivia started playing tug of war with the shark to get her board back.
The shark then turned around, smacked her in the forehead with its tail and swam off.
"That's when everyone said it was quite a big one because they could see the size of its tail", Olivia said.
"After it happened I was a bit dazed and everyone was freaking out."
She said it was hard to know how big or what sort the shark was, but that she''d been bothered by the creatures in the past. "You just see them and think they are mucking around, but it's when they are too curious ...
"[This one] was definitely big enough not to be cute."
Olivia later checked her board and because there were no teeth marks, was not sure what the shark was tugging at. Other surfers gathered and spoke about what they saw - with their feet on their boards.
Olivia then went to catch another wave and when she put her feet back in the water felt the shark bang against her. After bringing up her foot to see if her toes were still there, she realised the shark had bitten through her leash: "I was expecting to see my toes just dangling."
She found it odd the shark had targeted her again and said it might have had something to do with her being the only one with bare legs.
"Must have been the white bait," she joked.
Olivia then went and sat on the beach feeling shocked.
She had known of two other surfers banged about by sharks in the last few weeks and wasn't too keen to head back to Meatworks again this week. "I might go to Kahutara instead, and I won't be going out alone for a while either", she said.