A surfer from Regina is sharing his story of a shark encounter after watching the video of an Australian surfing competitor fight off Jaws live on TV.
The three-time world champ managed to wrestle off the shark and escaped with barely a scratch over the weekend in Jeffrey’s Bay in the eastern Cape Province, South Africa.
Barry Bierman has also surfed off the South African coast, just south of Jeffrey’s Bay. He once went out in murky water under an overcast sky in what is called “sharking conditions”. He said what happened next was the one of the most terrifying experiences of his life.
“A great white shark came up to me on the left side of my board and basically said hello,” he explained.
He was always told to face the shark and hold his ground, but instincts kicked in. He furiously paddled straight to shore, lifting his legs as high as he could to save his limbs.
“It’s one of those freaky moments where, you know, life and death kind of become very apparent and you don’t think of anything else but survival,” he said.
The chance of encountering a shark is something all surfers deal with, and Bierman describes a battle between the love of surfing and a fear of death. He and his friends say a little prayer before heading into the water and he knows he’s never completely safe.
“I’m sitting there and all of a sudden I get a weird feeling. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I just feel super uncomfortable.”
While there are not a lot of shark attacks on surfers, Bierman explains there are still more than they feel comfortable with.