Linda Whitehurst heads back to the water this weekend after fighting off a Great White Shark at Byron Bay last month.
Linda Whitehurst heads back to the water this weekend after fighting off a Great White Shark at Byron Bay last month.

Byron man survives shark attack

By RACHEL AFFLICK rachel.afflick@northernstar.com.au LIFEGUARDS are on the alert after yet another shark attack off Byron Bay threatened the life of a beachgoer.

Local man Craig Evans was surfing off Wategos Beach at 2.20pm on Thursday when a shark struck him from behind, knocking him off his surfboard and leaving teeth marks in his board and lacerations in his wetsuit.

"It was so close that I pushed it and kind of guided it away from my body. I jumped back on my board and paddled back to shore and didn't look back," Craig said in a media statement. He could not estimate the size of the shark as it came so close, but said it was as least as big as his surfboard.

Far North Coast Lifeguard Supervisor Peter Leahy said lifeguards had received no furthers sightings of the shark, believed to be a large Bronze Whaler. But he said in recent weeks there had been a number of sightings of sharks which lifeguards were taking very seriously. Meanwhile, a month after she was attacked at Byron Bay's Main Beach, shark survivor Linda Whitehurst still fears going into the open ocean

Hearing of this week's shark attack will not make matters easier for the Byron Bay sportswoman., who is still recovering from the emotional toll of the incident. "When I was training in the Brunswick River my polarised sunglasses played tricks on me. I kept thinking, 'Oh my god, what's that dark shadow?' Linda said.

But she will take a brave step this weekend when she competes in the Northcliffe Outrigger Canoe Club Regatta, her first water sports event since being knocked from her surf ski and attacked by a three-metre Great White Shark. Linda was feeling confident about the race, which is to be held in the protected waters of The Spit at Southport. But she isn't ready to face the open ocean off Byron Bay quite so soon.

"I'm giving myself some time out of Byron waters,'' she said. "I'm having a new canoe made and when it's right in about a month I hope to get back into things."



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