The beach at Jeffrey’s Bay has a reputation for being a bit dangerous. It is the South African waters, really, which are home to sharks. Those same waters offer stunning waves that keep surfers coming back for more, even those who have had run-ins with the sharks already. So is it worth it?
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The World Surf League must think so. They’ve hosted an event there since 1996. It was at one of these events in 2015 that Mick Fanning was attacked by a shark. And he was just pulled from the waters again, at the same beach, after another great white was spotted trailing him.
The Daily Mail put together a timeline of attacks.
- June 1989 – Roniel Jacobs, 16, has his board bitten by a shark but escapes.
- July 1989 – Edward Razzano, 34, gets bitten in the stomach but survives.
- May 1988 – Jan-Henrick Oppermann, 16, survives after being bitten on leg.
- June 1998 – Danny Bravier is attacked but makes it back to shore and lives.
- August 2003 – Joseph Krone, 16, has his wetsuit torn by aggressive shark.
- October 2004 – Pro surfer Wayne Monk, 34, suffers minor bite on foot.
- October 2013 – Burgert Van Der Westhuizen, 74, dies after attack.
- July 2015 – Mick Fanning escapes with no injury during J-Bay Open.
J-Bay, as the beach is nicknamed, has been described by some as the “best right-hand ride in the world.”
Yet there have been 9 fatal shark attacks since 2000 and as many as 131, if you go way back to the 1800s when people began counting. That’s not for one isolated beach, though, but along a 600 mile stretch of beach.
In 2015, Mick Fanning was attacked while the cameras were rolling. He punched the shark in the face to make his escape, and the rescue crews picked him up. And the shark was big. It was believed to have been a great white.
Tamsin Scott (above) was surfing at Mpande Beach, in 2016, when she was attacked.
Despite the attacks, Fanning doesn’t plan to stay out of the water. “I really feel at home here and so comfortable and relaxed,” Fanning said in an interview. “The people are so nice and the wave is amazing… this is a place that I really look forward to each year.”