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Why shark attack survivor is no fan of ocean nets

ONCE BITTEN: Evans Head resident Craig Ison with the board he was riding when he was attacked by a great white shark at Main Beach. In the background is the new board made for him by his good friend Darin Reilly.
ONCE BITTEN: Evans Head resident Craig Ison with the board he was riding when he was attacked by a great white shark at Main Beach. In the background is the new board made for him by his good friend Darin Reilly. Samantha Elley

SHARK attack survivor Craig Ison is back home and is embarking on a mission to keep people safe in the water.

Sporting a bright orange cast on his left hand and arm and with a big chunk of flesh out of his leg, Mr Ison is backing the development of sonar technology to repel sharks, but says he thinks trying to install shark nets on North Coast beaches is a bad idea.

"It's not just surfers, but the kids and nippers who need to be protected," he said.

"I'm never going back in the water until they come up with something.

"I am going to wait and hopefully by the time I have recovered enough to go surfing they've come up with an idea."

Mr Ison said he's happy to speak out about it to the media and support sonar technology that sends off an electric signal to repel sharks.

"What they've got out now is not really proven but they're on the right track," he said.

Mr Ison is the second shark attack survivor to weigh in on the side of shark repellent technologies. Byron Bay chef Jabez Reitman, who was bitten by a bull shark near Lennox Head in February, yesterday came out in favour of magnetic field technology to prevent attacks.

Craig Ison of Evans Head and Darin Reilly of Woodburn with the two boards Mr Reilly has made for Mr Ison. The one on the left has the shark teeth imprint and the other is Mr Ison's new board.
Craig Ison of Evans Head and Darin Reilly of Woodburn with the two boards Mr Reilly has made for Mr Ison. The one on the left has the shark teeth imprint and the other is Mr Ison's new board. Samantha Elley

"It might work out here but netting has a proven record wherever they've put it."

Mr Ison wasn't sure if netting would be viable for the conditions around the Northern Rivers, compared with Sydney.

"There's collateral damage with turtles and dolphins and whales," he said.

"So we should be able to do better than that."

The Evans Head surfer has been loaned plenty of the support equipment he needs for his recovery from good friend Darin Reilly, including a wheelchair, walker, gopher and even a walking stick.

"I'm not taking possession of these," Mr Ison said.

"I'll use them until I don't need them and then they will be a legacy for other shark attack victims as they need them."

Mr Reilly, who made the surfboard that Mr Ison was using when attacked, has also made a brand new board ready for his use if he wants to surf again.

It cheekily has "Once Bitten" as part of the design on the board.

"Craig asked if I could get the damaged board repaired and I said 'no way'," Mr Reilly laughed.

"That one is going up on the wall as a souvenir."

Surfer Julian Wilson also donated the board he was on in South Africa when with Mick Fanning at the time he was attacked by a great white shark.

Topics:  attack craig ison editors picks shark surfer



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