Surfers rescue stranded great white shark… by hand

When a three-meter great white washed up onto Hungry Head Beach in front of Andrew Eckersley, he could have been forgiven for keeping a safe, respectful distance. Instead, he and an anonymous wetsuit-clad surfer rushed to its aid and rescued it by hand.
Eckersley explained:

It was pretty scary at first. This guy in a wetsuit was sort of baling water on to its back by hand and digging out a hole for it on the ocean side.

He described the size of the shark>:

It was pretty big. I wouldn’t have been able to put my fingers together if I was giving it a cuddle.

Their first attempt involved using logs to attempt to lever the big fish, this allowed them to maintain a little distance from the razor sharp teeth, but presented dangers of its own:

There was the thought while we were getting the logs under it that I might pinch it or something and it would lunge at me.

The logs failed, but the stranded predator didn’t hold it against them; then they opted for a more direct approach. They pulled it out to sea “inch-by-inch”:

We got it out to about mid-thigh depth and it was starting to perk up again, which was exciting. I think the other guy started to get his confidence up a bit when he realized it wasn’t going to bite our legs off, so he took it out a bit further.

Photographer Ruth Fahey, who initially thought that a dolphin had washed onto the beach, captured the action on her camera.

Then I got closer and saw it was this huge shark and just thought, ‘Holy crap!'”

Unfortunately the shark in question didn’t pull through, it was found washed up on the beach the next day. Whoever found it clearly lacked the compassion of Eckersley and the anonymous surfer, as its jaws had been hacked off as a souvenir. []


C.S. Magor is the editor-in-chief and a reporter at large for We Interrupt and Uberreview. He currently resides in the Japanese countryside approximately two hours from Tokyo - where he has spent the better part of a decade testing his hypothesis that Japan is neither as quirky nor as interesting as others would have you believe.
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