03/17/2022 - Carl Colville - New Zealand - No Injury

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03/17/2022 - Carl Colville - New Zealand - No Injury

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Surfer gets a surprise when shark tries to climb aboard

A surf with some mates turned to a quick dash to shore for Greymouth man Carl Colville on Tuesday, as a shark unexpectedly mounted his surfboard.

The incident occurred as Mr Colville was enjoying the warm water.

"It was a beaut day and there were two or three porpoises out there and my mate goes, ‘Look there’s a shark in a porpoise suit’, just being stupid," he said.

"My feet were dangling in the water and I look around and there’s this shark landed its head right on top of my board.

"I flicked it off and paddled hard to shore and my mate yelled out to keep paddling — he could see it following me. Luckily, I caught a breaking wave heading in."

Some other people preparing to enter the water changed their minds when informed of the shark’s presence.

"They had thought it was funny how we got out of the water so quick."

Mr Colville got a good look at the shark’s head and described it as brown, with white underneath and spotty — it was definitely not a blue shark.

"I didn’t feel it hit, I didn’t see anything, it just appeared. I’ve been surfing here probably about 23 years and I’ve seen sharks before but not where they try to bite my board — I didn’t expect that."

His friends saw the shark as it followed him and believed it to be a thresher shark, identified by its distinctive tail fin.

The Kahuna Boardriders Club cancelled its Learn to Surf lessons after the incident as a precautionary measure, but Mr Colville was relaxed about the encounter.

"It’s probably not here anymore. I’d say it wouldn’t be hanging around."

Warmer water in the Tasman Sea has brought increased sightings of sharks, as well as plenty of sea mammals, off the coast this year.

The thresher shark’s distinctive tail fin is used to stun prey — usually smaller fish — before feeding on them.

Department of Conservation marine reserves ranger Don Neale yesterday said Doc did not manage and monitor sharks other than legally protected species, including white pointer, basking and whale sharks.

"Thresher sharks are easily identified by their very long tail, and they’re not considered dangerous to people." — Greymouth Star

By Meg Fulford

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