News

Scientists identify the shark that leapt at surf contest

What appears to be a shark was captured leaping from the water during the Coffs Harbour Boardriders contest at Macauley's on Sunday.
What appears to be a shark was captured leaping from the water during the Coffs Harbour Boardriders contest at Macauley's on Sunday. Steph Bellamy
Department of Primary Industries scientists believe the jumping shark captured off Coffs Harbour's Macauleys Headland may have been a spinner shark.
Department of Primary Industries scientists believe the jumping shark captured off Coffs Harbour's Macauleys Headland may have been a spinner shark.

UPDATE: DEPARTMENT of Primary Industries scientists believe a spinner shark may have been the species of shark captured leaping near board riders at Macauley's Headland.

Even thought the image was taken on a smart phone from distance and the shark's tail is not visible above the water, DPI staff say there appears to be enough detail to indicate it is a spinner shark and quite a large one at that.

Spinner sharks are commonly found in New South Wales waters, as far south as Jervis Bay, and are renowned for breaching and leaping above the surface.

They are named after the spinning leaps they perform while chasing prey.

When feeding, spinner sharks will speed vertically through a bait school, while spinning on their axis and erupting from the water.

This supports surfers claims that bait fish were seen in the water prior to the sighting.

Spinner sharks grow to an average size of two metres and have finely serrated teeth.

Scientists say they do no pose a substantial risk to humans as they do not perceive large mammals as prey.

 

MONDAY 6AM:

A PHOTO has surfaced of a shark leaping from the water during a surf contest in Coffs Harbour on Sunday.

The shark reportedly leapt into the air twice on Sunday as the mums of the Coffs Harbour Boardriders Club were in the water during a competition heat below Macauleys Headland.

Landing metres from surfers, the shark caused a frenzy in the water as the mothers club quickly paddled to the safety of the shoreline.  

The photo was taken by Steph Bellamy, who was watching on at the time. 

"I saw a splash and wondered what it was, than I hit the button on the camera wondering if I got it, then when I checked the picture I couldn't believe it," Steph said.

"This was a special one-off mums heat that was staged for the first time and they didn't even get waves."

She said the alarm was raised once the shark sighting was confirmed, but by that time many of the surfers in the water were already on their way to the beach.

"It was real," surfer Sharni Winkler said.

"My arms are so sore from paddling back into shore, but at least I still have arms," she joked.

Her husband former ASP tour competitor and local surf school owner Lee Winkler was also in the water at the time, about 30 metres from where the shark breached.

He said he and other onlookers thought it was a pelagic fish at first, but for those closest to where it surfaced there was no mistaking with it was.

"I have never seen 10 women paddle that quickly to the beach before," Lee said.

"Yeah I thought it was a tuna or a fish, but when the image came through on the beach I couldn't believe it an almighty shark jumping through the line-up."

Organisers monitored the break for 15-minutes before sending the open men's heat back into the water.

The species of shark is unconfirmed at this stage with suggestions it may have been a spinner shark, a thresher or a mako.  

The NSW Department of Primary Industries has been sent the image and fisheries researchers are analysing the possibilities.

The mums brigade at the Coffs Harbour Boardriders contest had their heat rudely interrupted by a leaping shark on Sunday.
The mums brigade at the Coffs Harbour Boardriders contest had their heat rudely interrupted by a leaping shark on Sunday.

 

Topics:  coffs harbour editors picks



Diner reimbursed after finding steel in his burger

Simon Towler claims he had been seeking reimbursement from McDonalds' insurance company for almost a year.

McDonalds to foot the dental bill of diner injured by burger

Rescuing Coffs Coast food destined for the dump

FEEDING MASSES: Loaves and Fishes' Benjamin Critten, Wayne Crowther, Ray Webb, Phil Hannaford and Russell Jones show some of the charity's food produce.

Tonnes of food given a second chance instead of being dumped

WIN acquires rights to Southern Cross Media television

WIN network coverage

Changes to take effect at end of the month

Local Partners

Rescuing Coffs Coast food destined for the dump

WHILE tonnes of food may go to waste, many more thousands of kilograms are spared from ending up in the landfill.


What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

Petula Clark delighted to sing live for Australian fans

STILL TOURING: English singer Petula Clark is coming to Queensland.

English star Petula Clark still puts on a great show, even at 84.

Do you really know your road rules?

Cars travel around the roundabout at Villiers and Fitzroy Street. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

List of the top 10 most misunderstood road rules in NSW.

Hervey Bays to star in international horror flick

A great white thriller that had scenes filmed on the Fraser Coast has been picked up by a major US movie studio.

Cher, 71, and Celine Dion wow world at Billboard Awards

“I’m 71 yesterday and I can do a five-minute plank, OK.”

Judah's return to The Voice stage is a knockout

Judah Kelly performs during his knockout round on The Voice.

QUEENSLAND singer nails Adele hit.

WIN acquires rights to Southern Cross Media television

WIN network coverage

Changes to take effect at end of the month

Wentworth star Daniielle Alexis: "I was born a boy"

Wentworth star Daniielle Alexis has revealed she was born a boy

Dwayne Johnson, Tom Hanks announce White House bid on SNL

Dwayne Johnson is “officially” running for president in 2020

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

REVEALED: Where it's cheaper to pay off a mortgage than rent

6/190 Ewing Rd, Woodridge, is listed for offers $215,000. Picture: realestate.com.au

Brisbane suburbs where it is cheaper to buy than rent

Close to everything, yet blissfully private

SNEAK PEEK: This private and elevated Coffs Harbour home is on the cover of this week's Real Estate Property Guide.

The Real Estate Property Guide is online now.

The hardest place in the state to find a rental property

RENTAL SHORTAGE: Richmond River, Ballina Bar Emigrant Creek Pacific Highway Teven Interchange. Photo Jay Cronan / The Northern Star

Not enough supply to meet insatiable demand

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!