ZIGZAG:Billabong Pro contest director shark encounter in J-Bay
19/07/11 - 00:00:00AM ~ By Jarv ~
Nick Williams commentating during the epic Mr Price Pro 2011 in Ballito.
“I’ve been married for two days and now I’m going to die.”
These were the words going through Billabong Pro commentator Nick William’s head as a 10-foot shark thrashed around him at Seal Point beachbreak this morning. Nick was married to Nadine in Jeffrey’s Bay on Saturday.
Nick was surfing with Billabong Pro contest director Eric Stedman down the middle of the beach, and Occy, Luke Egan and Seth Hulley were surfing one peak further north. Small, fun waves, crystal clear water and an offshore breeze.
“We had seen a seal earlier,” said Eric, when recalling the incident. “It had been playing around us. Then I saw this thing, this massive, dark shape, and I thought it was the seal.”
It wasn’t. “I then checked both fins come out the water, and there was about 6-foot between the two fins,” said Stedman. “Then this massive shark turned and went into attack mode, thrashing the water next to Nick.”
“It was right next to me,” said Nick. “I froze and kind of went, ‘this is it.’”
Eric was heading for the beach on a foamie, and Nick somehow also managed to catch a little wave in. “The water wasn’t very deep, and I caught this little one,” said Eric. Luckily Nick managed to get a little one as well. “I was just looking over my shoulder, waiting for it to attack,” said Nick. “I remember thinking, I’m going to watch this thing attack me.”
The both made it to the beach safely, but severely shaken. Eric and Nick then called other surfers from the water. The spot was almost the exact same place where Dunstan Hogan survived an attack in 2001. “I’ve had a few experiences with sharks,” said Stedman, ‘and that was radical.”
Nick, originally from Durban, has been commentating at the Billabong Pro for many years. This is Eric’s first year as contest director.