South Africa: Spotted! How a Surfer's Project Turned the Tide On Shark Fear

analysis

A brush with his own mortality stoked big wave rider and adventurer Greg Bertish into launching Shark Spotters - an internationally acclaimed bathing safety project that's doing wonders for shark conservation.

"Shark!" a scream goes up. Chaos and confusion erupt. Panicked surfers claw their way to the safety of the shore, waving and shouting to warn others. Hysteria spreads through the packed, murky waters at Cape Town's Muizenberg Beach.

Greg Bertish was among them. A big wave surfer and veteran waterman, he had been making the most of the sunny weather and small, glassy water to teach a few friends how to surf when the warning reached them. They scrabbled to join the mass exodus to the safety of the sand. It took a further 15 minutes before everyone was out.

That was in August of 2004 and at the time sharks were on every Cape Town surfer's mind. Four months earlier, also at Muizenberg, a wave dyed red with blood washed over surfer John Paul "JP" Andrew, 16. Most of the teen's right leg had been bitten off by a great white, but despite massive blood loss, JP survived.

Horror

Less than a year earlier, in September...

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