Yeppoon surfer’s own shark snap

WHEN Yeppoon's Rebecca Gallehawk heard about Australian surfer Mick Fanning's close encounter with a shark off the coast of South Africa yesterday, her mind flashed back to this image.

It was September 24 in 2011 when the local surfer went for a morning surf at Farnborough Beach to celebrate turning 18 when she got a birthday surprise that she didn't want.

Rebecca, now 21, said she had just finished eating a birthday breakfast when she decided to go in the water.

"I love surfing and I really wanted to surf on my birthday so I went for a surf and my friend was taking photos on the beach," she said.

"I've never been very concerned about sharks where I surf but it's always in the back of your mind I suppose. After catching a few waves I started to feel sick so I got out and sat on the beach.

Rebecca
Rebecca

"It wasn't until I looked at my camera about two months later I saw this photo and zoomed in to the black spot behind me. I couldn't believe what I saw; to think I was only metres away from a shark was pretty scary.

"I showed the photo to two local surfers who said it looked like it could have been a tiger shark about 2m to 3m in length. I have a series of photos where the shark gets closer to me as I get out of the water and the fin becomes clearer and bigger."

Surfers around the world were shocked yesterday when video footage of Mick Fanning being attacked by a shark at J-Bay during a surfing competition surfaced.

The dramatic footage shows Mick sitting on his board in the water when suddenly a fin, believed to belong to a great white shark, appears.

Luckily the professional surfer made his way to the shore unharmed thanks to the quick help of the rescue boat.

CLOSE CALL: This screen grab released by the World Surf League shows Australian surfer Mick Fanning being attacked by a shark. TOP: Rebecca Gallehawk’s shark shot.
CLOSE CALL: This screen grab released by the World Surf League shows Australian surfer Mick Fanning being attacked by a shark. TOP: Rebecca Gallehawk’s shark shot. AFP PHOTO WSL

Yeppoon surfer and owner of Capricorn Coast Learn 2 Surf school Pat Eastwood said he was glad to see Mick made it out alive.

"The video is very full on, I'm sure he got a fair scare and it's just lucky the rescue boat acted quickly," he said.

"I've met Mick before, he's such a nice bloke and I'm so glad he's okay. In those types of place in the world, great white sharks are a common occurrence but luckily for us here on the Cap Coast the sharks are a lot smaller and uncommon in our waters.

"I'll never forget the time last Christmas in Tasmania when I saw the fin of a great white shark right near my board. You just have this sudden instinct to start paddling, which I did, but I wasn't happy about it because the waves were so good."


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