Back in the surf after shark attack

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IOL surfer Sofie Schouwenburg done CAPE ARGUS First-time surfer Sofie Schouwenburg from Holland said she read about the incident on the internet. It scared me a bit, but I had always wanted to learn how to surf and I thought I should give it a try in any case." Photo: Willem Law

Cape Town - Surfers were back at Muizenberg catching waves on Sunday when the beach reopened following a shark attack on a student on Friday.

 

Muizenberg Beach was closed by the City of Cape Town on Friday and Saturday after UCT student Mike Smithers, 20, from Newlands was bitten by a shark. He is being treated at Vincent Pallotti Hospital

On Sunday, when the Cape Argus visited the beach, surfers, some as young as 8 years, were back in the sea.

Manager of the surf shop Xpression on the Beach, Shani du Venage, said although the atmosphere was “a bit tense”, it was business as usual.

“Surprisingly it didn’t affect our business. In fact it was quite a good weekend.”

Du Venage was giving surf lessons when the attack happened.

“We heard a shark alarm but to me it wasn’t surprising. But then I saw people panicking and a man being carried. I was told a man was attacked by a shark.”

White flags were raised to get the people out of the water.

Gary Kleynhans, from a local surf school, said shark attacks were part of the risk when surfing.

“Surfers know the risks and an attack is possible.”

Surfer dad Mujahid Barnes, 32, and 8-year-old son Mubasher were returning to the surf after their Ramadaan break. Barnes said he was not alarmed by the attack.

“The golden rule in surfing is to respect the sea. Speak to the shark spotters before going in, speak to those coming out and ask them about the temperature and most importantly, check the flags.

“I’m not afraid; I love surfing,” he said.

On Sunday at around 2pm, red flags were raised, indicating that a shark had been spotted a few hours before.

First-time surfer Sofie Schouwenburg from Holland said she read about the incident on the internet.

“It scared me a bit, but I had always wanted to learn how to surf and I thought I should give it a try in any case,” Schouwenburg said.

Mike Viljoen, a regular surfer at Muizenberg, said sharks were responding to the high amount of activity at sea.

“With the amount of people in the water at the moment it was only a matter of time before the sharks acted, he said.

“But still we can’t replace the enjoyment of surfing with the fear of sharks. If it shows then you will ruin the surf.”

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Cape Argus


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