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Shark attack closes Margaret River pro surfing event

16 April 2018

The attack prompted the World Surf League (WSL) to temporarily postpone the nearby Margaret River Pro surfing contest, with lifeguards having spotted a 13-foot-long shark just off a nearby beach two hours later.

A professional surfing event off Western Australia was briefly suspended Monday after a shark attack nearby.

The man was reportedly bitten while surfing at Gracetown, where the Margaret River Pro is held.

The contest was initially put on hold with organisers saying the "safety of our surfers and staff is a top priority".

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The Cobblestones surf spot has now been closed by Surf Life Savers, after two shark sightings were reported following the attack.

"We have been alerted of a shark incident that occurred near Gracetown", the tweet said. "There was a lot more thrashing around".

Surf photographer Peter Jovic watched the attack from the beach and likened it to the live broadcast of a shark attack in South Africa in 2015.

After assessing the situation, organizers of the Margaret River Pro chose to resume the event with additional safety measures in place. "After that it was hard to see what was going on".

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It's understood the sharks could be in the area due to a whale carcass reported by Fisheries, and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions officers are working towards its removal.

Jovic said he saw the man catch a wave "which he managed to body-surf all the way in". "We have mitigation protocols in place and will be enhancing those when competition resumes".

"If anyone is familiar with the Mick Fanning moment at Jeffreys Bay a couple of years ago, it was very similar to that, where a shark pretty much popped up and ended up knocking a surfer off his board", he told ABC radio.

The group then gave the victim first aid on the beach before paramedics arrived on scene and airlifted the man to Perth Hospital via helicopter 270 km north.

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Shark attack closes Margaret River pro surfing event