After two separate shark attacks occurring less than 10 miles from the contest site for the Margaret River Pro, two World Surf League Championship Tour surfers have taken to Instagram to speak out about their uneasiness in the water in Western Australia.
Prominent Brazilian surfers Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira both posted their thoughts on Instagram about what is going on near Margaret River.
(Translation via Google Translator).
“Today they had two shark attacks on a beach close to where we’re competing. I do not feel safe training and competing in this kind of place, any time anything can happen to one of us. Hope not. Leaving my opinion before it’s too late!”
⚠ Dois ataques de tubarão em menos de 24h aqui na Austrália, detalhe, apenas alguns Km de onde está sendo realizado o evento. Muito perigoso não acham? mesmo assim, continuam insistindo em fazer etapas onde o risco de ter esse tipo de acidente é 90% aí eu pergunto: a segurança dos atletas não é prioridade? Já tivemos vários alertas. A vida vale mais ! Espero que não aconteça com nenhum de nós. Eu não me sinto confortável treinando e competindo em lugares assim!
“Two shark attacks in less than 24 hours here in Australia, detail, just a few miles from where the event is being held. Very dangerous do not you think? Even so, they keep insisting on doing steps where the risk of having this type of accident is 90 percent, so I ask: Is not the safety of athletes a priority? We already had several alerts. Life is worth more! I hope it does not happen to any of us. I do not feel comfortable training and competing in places like this!”
There are a few things to unwrap here. First and foremost, sharks are in the ocean and by going in the ocean there is an inherent risk (no matter how small that risk might be). That being said, Medina and Ferreira both bring up good points about it feeling like the dice is being rolled if the contest continues.
The WSL did put the contest on hold for Tuesday as they are reassessing the situation and utilizing all the safety protocols at their disposal. They have also warned all surfers not to go in the water in the area.
WSL continues to assess the current situation at the Margaret River Pro where there have been two confirmed shark incidents near Gracetown in the last 24 hours. We have actioned our well established safety protocols and are gathering all the latest information to determine next steps. We will continue to liaise with all involved, most importantly the surfers, their safety remains paramount. Today's competition (Tuesday in Western Australia) has already been called off and all surfers have been advised not to surf in the area. We are constantly evaluating the situation, and will update as soon as possible.
Obviously this is a precarious situation for the WSL. They most certainly want to keep the surfers safe, and don’t want another in-contest incident to happen again. We’d imagine that all surfers on the CT understand the reality, and may even have similar feelings to Medina and Ferreira, but perhaps other surfers in the contest simply accept it as an inherent danger of surfing (especially in Western Australia).
Stay tuned to ASN for updates on what the WSL decides to do with the Margaret River Pro moving forward.
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