Just hours after 37-year-old Margaret River resident Alejandro Travaglini was attacked by a shark near Gracetown, WA, an event that caused the World Surf League to put the Margaret River Pro on hold, another man was attacked.
The victim was surfing just over a mile from where the first attack took place when he was bitten on the leg, sustaining only minor injuries. “I don’t always surf the place,” he told reporters. “But it was uncrowded. I didn’t know why. I heard there’s a shark around… I thought, ‘aw yes, yes there are sharks in the ocean.”
While the first attack closed beaches in the Gracetown area and the Margaret River Pro was called off, there are still surfers in the water. Closed beaches include North Point, Big Rock and Lefthanders, along with a shark warning issued between Kilcarnup and North Point. At a nearby beach called Lefthanders, a whale carcass was found, which are known to be attractive to sharks.
Within a few hours of the second attack, the WSL called the contest back on. “After discussing with local authorities, the Water Safety Team and surfers,” they wrote, “the WSL Commissioner’s Office has decided to resume competition for the Margaret River Pro at Main Break at 10:40am, following a one-hour hold prompted by reports of a shark incident at Gracetown – approximately 15 kms away from the event site. Surfer and Staff safety are top priorities for the WSL and when competition resumes, further enhanced safety measures, including ski and drone presence, will be added to the event’s mitigation protocols. We look forward to a great completion of the event.”