South Africa
Paddler gets bumped from his ski by a Shark

A paddler visiting Plettenberg Bay had a close encounter with a big shark yesterday morning when he was bumped into the air and a bite was taken from his surf ski.

Ben Swart, 55, from Pretoria, told NSRI that he and his two friends, Nick Bester and Ronald Pronk, regular paddlers on holiday in Plettenberg Bay, were paddling from Central Beach to Keurbooms on their three surf-skis about 400 meters off-shore and well behind the back-line.

Suddenly and without warning, he felt a hard bump from underneath his surf-ski (behind the seat of the surf-ski) and he was thrown into the air and landed in the water.

Ben realized that a shark, believed to be a Great White, and estimated to be about 4 meters in length, had breached from underneath his surf-ski, knocked the surf-ski into the air and had taken a fair sized bite out of his surf-ski.

He managed to swim back to his damaged surf-ski which still had a fair amount of buoyancy, and lay down on the ski while his two friends rafted their surf-ski’s alongside him and they began gently paddling towards the shore while calling NSRI Plettenberg Bay and requested assistance.

Although Ben did not see the shark again after the incident, Nick saw the shark about 30 seconds after the incident in the water nearby but no further sightings were made after that.

NSRI have urged the public, paddlers and bathers, to be cautious.

NSRI coast watchers monitoring the coastline have noted increased shark sightings along the Plettenberg coastline following this incident.

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