Sharks rule the Byron Bay waves

SURFING photographer Patrick Gorbunovs took this photograph of a large shark among a group of surfers around the headland from the Pass at Cosy Corner on Tallow Beach, Byron Bay on Thursday.

"It was busy, about 40 guys out surfing, and I went chasing a pod of dolphins," he said.

"On my way back in a surfer goes 'look out, there's a shark'," he said.

"I said 'where?', and he said 'coming straight for you'.

"With no goggles I couldn't see well, so I stuck my camera down and snapped off a couple of pictures."

He was more than a little surprised when he saw the resulting photograph.

A second shark was snapped by long boarder and photographer Ben Bennink on the same day.

Mr Bennink estimates that shark was three to three-and-a-half metres long.

"About 40 minutes later I heard people whistling and carrying on from the line up and I thought, 'hello, he's back'.  

"Everyone scrambled again, except for a few heroes who just ignored it.  

"The shark cruised around for a good three or four minutes, then cruised out into deep water."

It was the second large shark encounter for Mr Bennink at the Pass in as many weeks.

"One surfaced right next to me recently. I was riding a nine-foot-eight board and it was bigger than that," he said.   

"I just looked at it and I'm going, ohhh ... and I'm gently trying to make little rhythmic movements with my hands and move slowly away, and it's slowly drifting towards me, and I'm thinking this isn't cool, I'm not enjoying this at all.   

"You get a lot of panic, which is understandable, but what really blows me out is people saying stupid things like 'it's only a reef shark, they're harmless' - an absolute lack of respect, denial even.   

"It's like calling a lion a big fluffy kitty cat."



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