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Byron Shire
May 16, 2022

Shark victim still shaky after attack

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Jade Fitzpatrick. (Image supplied)
Jade Fitzpatrick. (Image supplied)

Jade Fitzpatrick says he’s still in shock a day after escaping the jaws of a 2.7-metre great white near Broken Head.

The 36-year-old surfer says he’s ‘one of the lucky ones’ after suffering three puncture wounds to his upper thigh when his surfboard bore the brunt of the attack off a beach between Suffolk Park and Broken Head near Byron Bay on Monday morning.

After analysing his board shark experts have determined it was a 2.7-metre great white that took the bite.

‘I have been up and down a little bit,’ Mr Fitzpatrick said on Tuesday.

He described how he was lying on his surfboard waiting for a wave when the shark attacked.

‘He bit down on my leg and this fin has got him in the mouth and he has spat me out,’ he told Network Seven, just 24 hours after the attack.

‘I thought, that is definitely not a dolphin,’ he said.

With the help of a friend, Mr Fitzpatrick was able to paddle into shore and make his way to Byron Central Hospital and was discharged later in the day.

The attack hasn’t deterred Mr Fitzpatrick from surfing in the area and he says he’ll be back in the water in 10 days’ when his wounds heal.

The attack, the third in a month, prompted primary industries minister Niall Blair to announce he would fast-track legislation in a bid to have the nets installed before the summer school holidays despite opposition from some locals.

False sense of security

Mr Fitzpatrick doesn’t want shark nets, which he says would kill dolphins, whales and other marine life that provide a healthy ecosystem.

‘(Nets) will maybe keep us a bit secure at the cost of (sharks’) lives, or maybe it will give us a false sense of security.’

He believes there is a lot of hysteria and fear-mongering when it comes to the reporting of shark attacks.

‘Everything gets bigger and scarier.’

He holds no grudge against the shark.

‘I am just doing what I love and he is just being what he is.’

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  1. Indeed. Others will get caught. And Dolphins and Whales need to be protected. You can either put a net all around Australia (yeah right) or stop raping the ocean of fish (corporations yet again).

  2. ridiculous suggesting that surfers have a form of Stockholm syndrome. Maybe they have that even rarer syndrome – common sense and a love of the ocean and all things in it.


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