Monday, February 9, 2015

Surfer killed in a shark attack near Ballina on the New South Wales north coast

Tadashi Nakahara was killed in a shark attack near Ballina on February 9, 2015.ABC  News
photo's by Bruce Mackenzie
A 41-year-old Japanese man and keen surfer who worked as a board distributor has been killed in a shark attack near Ballina on the New South Wales north coast.

Tadashi Nakahara suffered severe injuries to his leg and was helped from the water by a group of fellow surfers at Shelly Beach on Monday morning, but he died at the scene from a massive loss of blood.

Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay said Mr Nakahara was surfing in a group when the shark attacked.

"We believe he was surfing with up to four men, two were very close to him, they rendered assistance and brought him to shore," he said.

"Two other surfers paddled in to help out and help with the injuries.

"Unfortunately they could not stop the bleeding and at this stage we believe he died of blood loss.

"He had leg injuries and they were substantial, they were injuries that led to a significant loss of 

Mr Nakahara had been living in Ballina for the past 12 months and worked as a distributor for Webster Surfboards.

He was a keen surfer and was popular with the local beach community.

A shark expert will arrive in Ballina on Tuesday to assist police with the search for the animal.

"We are now concentrating on searching the area and seeing if we can locate that shark. We believe it was a very large shark," Inspector Lindsay said.

Shelly Beach

"The expert will assist us to determine what type of shark it was.

"Once we know what type of shark it is and receive advice on whether or not that shark poses a threat to humans, then we'll assess what we'll do about the shark."

Inspector Lindsay said a witness on the beach had video footage of the aftermath of the attack, and this would be used to try and work out what type of shark was responsible.

"There was a witness on the beach that took some video of the surfing this morning.

"Unfortunately the video captures after the attack so at this stage we don't have video of the actual attack.

"We're still looking at it but it appears to capture a large amount of blood in the water."

'They tried everything they could'

Ballina Mayor David Wright said residents of the beach town was struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.

"Some surfers were out on their boards ... and during that time a shark has come up behind a board paddler who was just sitting on his board and it's taken the back of the board and part of the gentleman," Mr Wright said.

"His mates quickly pulled him in and they tried to do resuscitation but he died. They tried everything they could but he was deceased.

"It's a terrible tragedy. He's a local man of Japanese origin. It hurts.

"Everyone in town is just dumbfounded.

"This shark is just cruising around. I'm a supporter of sharks but something has to be done about this one."

The site was cordoned off after the attack and all swimmers and surfers ordered out of the water.

All beaches from South Ballina to Lennox Head have been closed, police said.

A report will be prepared for the coroner.

Second attack in northern NSW in two days

The incident followed a shark attack on Sunday at Seven Mile Beach near Broken Head, about 20 kilometres north of Shelly Beach.

Detective Inspector Lindsay said police would ask the shark expert to determine whether the two attacks were carried out by the same shark.

"We'll receive advice, scientific advice, from a shark expert on what type of shark it is and whether or not they believe that shark would still be in the area, or is a species that roams," Inspector Lindsay said.

A shark expert from the Southern Cross University doubted the same animal was responsible for two the two attacks in local waters this week.

Doctor Daniel Bucher said a much larger shark was responsible for the fatal attack.

"Looking at the injuries from the fellow who was bitten on the shoulder, they look like a much smaller shark," he said.

"Certainly if it does prove that the second attack was a Great White then I can certainly say they were different fish, because the first attack was definitely not a Great White judging by the wounds."

In the Seven Mile Beach attack, surfer Jabez Reitman drove himself to hospital with wounds to his back after he was knocked off his board and bitten.

Mr Reitman said the attack happened quickly.

"Something just jumped out of the water and just grabbed me at my hip and dragged me off my board and took me under the water," he said.

"I just came back up and paddle, paddle, [and] paddled about 60 metres back into the shore and had to drive about 15 kilometres [to help] because the person I was with didn't have a licence."

Warm weather increases shark activity: researcher

Dean Gibson, a cafe owner in the area of Sunday's attack, said surfers had spoken of increased shark activity this summer.

"We do get a lot of local surfers come in and they are reporting a lot of sightings at the moment," he said.

"Some of them cannot see what sort they are but there have been a few surfers saying they have been hit from underneath their boards by what they think are sharks."

Dr Daniel Bucher, senior lecturer in marine biology and fisheries at Southern Cross University, said shark activity increased in the Northern Rivers area when the water was at its warmest.

"The water has been warmer and generally shark activity goes up when it's warmer," Dr Bucher said.

"Great whites are different and they tend to move up here in winter following the whale migrations," he said.

Dr Bucher said although great whites tended to hunt in northern NSW in winter, the severity of the attack on the surfer at Ballina was consistent with the feared shark.

"It certainly sounds like a very large shark if it's taken off the guy's legs," Dr Bucher said.

"It's either a big tiger shark or a great white perhaps but tiger sharks are more common at this time of year.

"Tiger sharks have been called the garbage bins of the sea. They'll eat anything and so they're a scavenger as well as a predator.

"They're always on the lookout so divers, swimmers, board riders – they're all something they'll come in and have a look at."


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Where did the green 'alien eggs' come from? Scientists baffled by unidentified floating objects that washed up on a Sydney beach

  • Beach-goers describe green 'alien hairballs' washed up on a Sydney's Dee Why Beach
  • The strange round objects are thought to be a rare type of living algae, brought ashore by warmer weather and rough conditions
  • Scientists think the algae might form into balls to protect itself from hungry fish

  • Visitors from outer space or a natural phenomena? Surfers and early morning walkers were stunned to find thousands of 'alien eggs' on a Sydney beach this weekend.
    Locals in Dee Why, on the city's North Shore, reported seeing a large number of the strange objects which had washed ashore overnight.
    But rather than the green spheres being something from another planet, scientists explained they were a type of sponge-like seaweed that forms egg shapes possibly to protect themselves from predators.  
    Scroll down for video
    The mysterious green 'alien eggs' strewn across Sydney's Dee Why Beach
    The mysterious green 'alien eggs' strewn across Sydney's Dee Why Beach
    Locals said they'd never seen anything like the green algae balls that washed ashore at Dee Why this week
    Locals said they'd never seen anything like the green algae balls that washed ashore at Dee Why this week
    Beach-goers said they'd never seen anything like it, describing the balls as 'alien eggs, 'alien hairballs', Japanese moss balls and UFOs (Unidentified Floating Objects).
    'About three days ago, there were a few egg-shaped balls but then today, they were much bigger and everywhere on the beach,' Naraweena resident Jenny Zhang told The Manly Daily. 
    Scarlett de Villiers from nearby Davidson saw the weird balls on her regular morning beach walk.
    'It was a windy day with a very high tide. I picked one up and squeezed it and it was so squishy - but I wasn't sure if it was alive and was worried I might hurt anything inside!' she told the Daily Mail. 'It struck me how perfectly shaped they all were and how green and alive they looked.'
    Associate Professor Alistair Poore from the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of NSW said the balls were probably a rare type of living green algae, which has only been seen a handful of times around the world. 

    'Alien' algae explained

    The balls are thought to be an extremely rare species of filamentous green algae.
    The living organisms are known in Japan as 'Marumo' and Cladophora ball or Lake ball in English, and are sometimes found in freshwater lakes in the Northern Hemisphere.
    ‘Aegagropilious’ describes the habit of free living algae (algae not attached to rocks) forming into balls.  
    Floating algae balls are thought to be brought ashore by warmer weather and the rough wave conditions.
    It's unknown why the algae forms into balls. One hypothesis is that a ball-shape helps protect the algae from hungry fish, another that it may help them roll back into the water and avoid drying out when they wash ashore. 
    'I’ve seen similar things - sometimes dead sea grass can roll around and form balls like underwater tumbleweeds but that’s made of dead material and these look to be living,' he told The Manly Daily. 
    'It is a habit known as "aegagropilious", where the algae is free living (not on rocks) and forms into spherical balls.'
    The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust’s Alan Millar said the algae balls made their way to the beach with the right biophysical conditions, but that these conditions don't align every Spring.

    'It’s clearly another response to spring sunshine, and just the right wave conditions to tumble them,' said Mr Millar.

    'Alien hairballs': The sponge like sea balls are thought to be rare living algae, sometimes seen in freshwater lakes in the Northern Hemisphere
    'Alien hairballs': The sponge like sea balls are thought to be rare living algae, sometimes seen in freshwater lakes in the Northern Hemisphere
    Scientists think the algae forms into balls to protect itself from fish and other predators or so that they can roll back into the sea when washed ashore
    Scientists think the algae forms into balls to protect itself from fish and other predators or so that they can roll back into the sea when washed ashore
    It's the second unusual natural spectacle to hit Sydney's Beaches in a matter of weeks. Last month, the waves at Manly Beach were lit up a fluorescent blue for three nights by 'agitated' phytoplankton, apparently signalling the start of Spring.

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    Tuesday, October 29, 2013

    Surfer takes on 'biggest wave ever ridden' after storm


    A surfer may have set the world record for the largest wave ever surfed after riding an estimated 100ft wave off the coast of Portugal
    Brazilian Carlos Burle took on the monster wave - created by the St Jude storm - at Praia do Norte, near the fishing village of Nazare. Estimated at nearly 100ft, it is believed to be the biggest wave ever ridden.
    Brazilian big wave surfer Carlos Burle rides a wave in Nazare (AFP/Getty Images)
    The surf was generated by the same storm that battered Europe and the UK overnight, killing 11 and causing extensive damage.
    The beach is well-known in surfing circles as a mecca for large waves because it picks up the full brunt of the violent Atlantic storm swells.
    Mr Burle was with fellow surfer Maya Gabeira, also from Brazil, who was knocked unconscious by the stong waves and nearly drowned.
    She was dragged onto shore and given medical attention on the beach before being taken to hospital. She is reportedly doing well and only sustained a broken ankle.
    Mr Burle said: "At one stage there was a bit of shouting and screaming. Everyone was so excited you know, and I was just shouting back at them, telling them that it’s just another big day, that everyone had to stay focused."
    "It was luck. We never know when we will be catching the wave. I still hadn't surfed any wave and everyone had already had their rides. Maya almost died," he told Surfer Today. "For me, it was a big adrenaline moment to get back there after what happened."
    English surfer Andrew Cotton rides a big wave at the Praia do Norte (AP)
    According to Guinness World Records, Garret McNamara from Hawaii holds the record with a 78ft wave surfed at the very same spot in Nazare in Nov. 1 2011.
    Briton Andrew Cotton, 34, of North Devon - who is a part-time professional surfer and lifeguard - took on some of the smaller waves yesterday.
    Mr Cotton and his team-mate McNamara were in the water before light at 6am, along with scores of other surfers all trying to ride the biggest wave.

    Thursday, June 27, 2013

    6 Rad Beaches That’ll Inspire You To Surf

    posted on June 20, 2013 at 1:48pm EDT
     These gnarly beaches aren’t just for computer backgrounds — they’re also great for adrenaline rushes. We bet it will only take six seconds before you want to grab a wave or catch up on some sun.


    1. The sick Pipeline in O’ahu, Hawaii.






    2. Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa

    Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa




    3. The sunny beaches of Bali, Indonesia.

    The sunny beaches of Bali, Indonesia.There are two surfing destination points in Bali—Uluwatu and Kuta. Uluwatu is for the big leagues and the locals, while Kuta is better for beginners who want to take their first dip. 
    Source: Brent Fitzgerald  /  via:




    4. The tubes of Gold Coast, Australia.

    The tubes of Gold Coast, Australia.It can be a trek getting to the best surfing spots along the Gold Coast in Queensland, but the epic tubes make the journey worth it.

    Image by Kirstin Scholtz / Getty Images





    5. The monster waves of Mavericks, California.

    The monster waves of Mavericks, California.The 25-meter high waves at Mavericks in Northern California are caused by storms at sea, making it arguably as dangerous as the O’ahu Pipeline. This is for experts only.  
    Source: UltraView Admin  /  via:




    6. The stoney shores of Lima, Peru.

    The stoney shores of Lima, Peru.

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    Gabriel Medina lucky?

    Gabriel Medina: Thirteen is an unlucky number to some, but I don’t believe in luck. We make our own luck, and Medina has been working his ass off his entire life, preparing for the moment when his incredible consistency will come through in a pinch—when a big heat, contest, or world title is on the line. We've already seen him win the big heats, and contests, the world title is his next goal—anything less will be a letdown in his career.