“It was the biggest fin I’ve ever seen, and it was coming straight towards me” gasped surfer Dusty Payne after retreating from the competition area in San Francisco’s Ocean Beach surf zone. The surfer hailing from Oahu is no stranger to surfing in the water with sharks and other sea creatures, but he claimed he’d never seen anything on this scale.
After spotting the 12ft great white shark, Payne warned his fellow competitor and photographer, then quickly surfed his way to the sand. The threat was serious enough to make him forget about the $425,000 of prize money up for grabs at the 2011 Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco. In order for the competitors to re-enter the line-up, lifeguard boats stood guard just outside of the breakers, but claimed they only spotted some dolphins. But who knows…reporting shark sighting is not good for tourism.
A rule was recently drafted to stop competition when sharks are sighted in the line-up, but the local photographer in the water remained, and remarked “Its San Francisco…what do you expect?” On Saturday a surfer was attacked by 9ft great white shark, and survived thanks to the use of surfboard leashed used as tourniquets.
Watch this video edit of the encounter with reactions to the shark toward the end.
The Rip Curl Pro Search is located in a new location each year to test the limits of the world’s top-rated surfers, and shark threats only add to the already dangerous surf of Ocean Beach. During last years competition in Puerto Rico, 3x world champion competitor Andy Irons passed away. Today marks the first anniversary of his passing, and his memory is present in the minds of the competitors.