Bodyboarder, 10, nearly hung five
By ANITA HULM
IT was a bump in the surf that made it hard for Jimmy Clifton to sleep on Sunday night.
Jimmy, 10, of Cudgen, had a chunk taken out of his flipper, possibly by a shark, as he caught the last wave on his bodyboard at Kingscliff that morning.
On the beach he discovered most of one flipper below the toehold was missing.
His father, Mark, who had been bodyboarding with him for an hour, had gone back to the beach and, at 11.30am, told Jimmy to come in.
"I saw a black, oily shape which was lots of pilchards and they had dredged the sand up," Jimmy said.
The pilchards surrounded him and it was then he felt a knock on the flipper.
"It felt like one flipper had bumped against the other," he said.
Jimmy showed the flipper to his father, who couldn't believe what he was seeing.
They headed off to see Jimmy's mother, Robyn, at a netball carnival and her heart was in her mouth after she was told what had happened.
"I nearly died," Robyn said yesterday. "I am just glad he wasn't paddling furiously with his arms and legs and that he was just waiting for the wave."
Jimmy, a Year 5 pupil at Kingscliff Primary School, took the flipper to school for 'show and tell' with his class.
Some did not believe his story, and calls to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, which has marine reserves along the North Coast, failed to uncover reports of any similar incidents occurring.