The surfer and the Shark

Andy Johnston was enjoying a fine day of surfing the turquoise waters at West Beach near Esperance, south-east of Perth in Australia on September 21st when he heard spectators frantically honking their horns.

They had spotted a 9 foot black silhouette cruising the waters at 11 am and everyone knew it was a shark.

As the other surfers and swimmers heading the warning and made haste to the beach, one surfer Andy Johnston decided to stay in the water.

His decision to stay was made on the all the adrenaline pumping to his brain.


He told Esperance Express “I’d rather try to hold my ground against it and not freak out and make a commotion.”

“It seemed just curious and I didn’t want to give it a reason to chase me so I tried to behave casually and keep an eye on it.

“But I didn’t know it came up quite so close as I was paddling into the wave to come into the beach with the other lads.”

He paddled to the reef before heading back to the surf.

“It wasn’t that big, it looked smaller than a dolphin,” he said.


Knowing how rare shark bites/attack are, he said

“If you’re going to say a shark is a threat every time you see one, well that’s not true.

“They’re doing their thing and we’re doing our thing.

“I probably have a higher risk of breaking my neck on that reef than the shark causing me harm.

“If you’re going to get chomped then you’re going to get chomped – there’s nothing you can do about it.”


He is 100% correct.  More people die per year of mosquito bites than by shark attacks.

Given he has had lots of criticism since the incident was made public.

In hindsight he understands that should he have been bit it would have been extremely traumatic not only for him bout for all those watching.

 “But I wasn’t thinking about the general public,” he said.

“I was focused on what was right there and what was going on.”

So what do you think? Was it a bad move? If he had been bitten would the government use it as an excuse to kill more sharks? Would it have been better if he just left the water or do the photo show that the shark was just curios and no real threat? Let us know in the comments.


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