Folly Beach shark sighting, close call prompts Governor’s Cup cancellation
By Larry Collins and Cuthbert Langley, WCBD
August 12, 2013
The South Carolina Governor’s Cup of Surfing was canceled Sunday afternoon after numerous shark sightings and a very close call.
At around 5:15 Sunday afternoon, officials canceled the remainder of the surfing competition when surfers reported seeing a shark. A 10-year-old surfer reported that the shark grabbed his surfing “leash,” but he was able to escape uninjured.
“A shark got tangled in my leash and pulled me back and pulled me under and I reached down and grabbed my leash and swam in,” Tyson Royston said.
Royston’s coach was standing nearby when he realized that Royston wasn’t trying to show off for the judges, he was fighting off the reported 8-foot-long Bull shark. Those type of sharks are known for being aggressive.
“We were watching the heat and I am trying to coach him and next thing we know, a big shark came up, picked his board out of the water, lifted him up. I thought he was bit,” Robert Weaver said.
Once the coach reached Royston, quick-thinking and fright set in.
“His eyeballs were about as big as a horse when I grabbed him and mine were too. So, we were looking at each other scared to death,” Weaver said.
“He threw me into a wave and I swam in as fast as I could,” Royston said.
The surfing heats have been postponed until next month. Organizers say close to 225 surfers attended the event, which was celebrating its 25th anniversary.
“It was just a big shock. It’s the first time ever in the history of the contest that I have been involved with it that we’ve had anything like this happen, so we feel really blessed and fortunate that we had a very happy ending,” Governor’s Cup organizer Nancy Hussey said.
No injuries were reported.