Scotland: Surfer fends off shark

Surfer’s shock at close encounter with 8ft killer shark.. in mouth of the Spey


By Charlie Gall,,
28. October 2011

Andrew was surfing with pals at Spey Bay in Moray when the shark darted towards him at the river mouth

A SHOCKED surfer used his board to save himself from a shark attack in the mouth of a Scottish river.

In a scene straight from Jaws, the shark – possibly a porbeagle, close kin to a great white – bashed into Andrew Rollo’s leg.

Andrew, 26, was surfing with about 10 pals at Spey Bay in Moray when an 8-10ft shark darted towards him at the river mouth.

The rare attack has sparked an investigation and Andrew will be interviewed by shark experts. He was stunned when the giant fish bumped his board and thrashed around.

He said: “The first I knew about it was when it was touching my leg – it was right there.

“It went round the front of me and then it went over to my friend Paul who was only three metres away.

“It made a sharp turn to me, at which point I got off my surfboard and got my board between me and it.

“All I really saw was the fin. At first I thought it was a seal – but when I turned around, it was clear it was a shark.

“It was a fast mover – it was thrashing around and turning its body.

“It was in control of what was happening.

“We kept our eye on the shark fin, kept our boards in the way and stayed as calm as we could.”

Andrew, of Lossiemouth, added: “I felt vulnerable because we were very much in its habitat.

“It was about 8-10ft in length. I’m not sure if it was just checking us out.

“It wasn’t really making relaxed movements – it was jerky and thrashing. I have surfed for six or seven years and maybe if you go to America or New Zealand you consider being wary of sharks – but it’s never been on my mind in Scotland.

“It’s certainly something that people should be aware of, especially in summer.”

Andrew’s friend Paul Gibson, 33, said: “As far as I could see, the shark was having a go.

“It initially approached Andrew. It bumped him.

The only reason it didn’t get to us was because we put our surfboards up and I think it became unsure what it was going for.

“The temptation is to say it was an attack. I wonder if somebody had reacted by panicking or splashing, whether it might have been different.”

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society’s Charlie Phillips said: “It might have been a young basking shark or a porbeagle or shortfin mako. Some of these are quite inquisitive.

“It’s something that people should remember if they are surfing in the area.”

Shark Trust chairman Richard Pierce added: “”The behaviour described is not typical of sharks, unless there is some reason that made it do that.”

No one has ever been killed in a shark attack in UK waters and incidents are extremely rare.





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