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Cape Town - “As I paddled out, the shark turned and I saw how its dorsal became bigger and bigger. It swam past me and then suddenly a big splash.”
Kenwyn surfer Troy Henri was attacked by a shark when he and a friend surfed at Hawston Beach on Saturday – the same day an angler was attacked by a shark near Struisbaai.
Henri’s friend, Rhomeez Petersen, had invited him and other friends to a beach birthday party. The two were surfing about 60m from the shore when the attack happened, he said on day.
Moments after he saw a black patch beneath the sea surface, a dark shape moved towards him, said Henri.
“I screamed to Rhomeez ‘there is shark in the water’. It swam about an arm’s length past me and I just knew something was about to happen.
“The shark hit the underside of my board and threw me off. I landed on my back in the water and the shark went over me – its tail hitting my arm.
“Then I felt the pressure of the leash pulling me under water. The pressure was released when the leash snapped,” said Henri.
His first reaction was get back to shore, he said.
“All I was thinking was that the shark would come back and my 14-year-old son, who was on the beach, must not see this. I could not see my surfboard,” he said Petersen raised the alarm and lifeguards came to help.
“I’ve surfed the Maldives, Bali, the SA coastline and many other places, and on Saturday the strangest thing was getting out of the water without my board,” said Henri, who was shocked but not injured.
Petersen said: “I heard him scream before he was dragged down. I thought, the shark is eating my friend, there’s going to be blood in the water and a feeding frenzy will follow.
“I thought of what was I going to tell Troy’s wife because I had invited him to my birthday party… ”
He felt huge relief when he saw Henri emerge from the water, said Petersen. “It was the best feeling of my life.”
Henri returned to Hawston on Sunday to fetch his surfboard, which was recovered by Llewellyn Poole, a local surfer who saw the board in the sea.
Said Henri: “I’m giving him a board, but I’m keeping this one. That swim back to the beach was the longest swim I’ve ever done.
“I’m grateful to be alive. Somebody up there likes me.”