A big-hearted surfer was spotted carrying a stranded shark back into deeper water after the ocean predator became stranded in the shallows of a beach near Eastern View, Victoria, in Australia.
After spotting the immature — but still potentially very dangerous — blue shark in distress, Paul Myles tried at first to push it back into the sea using the tip of his surfboard.
But when that didn’t work Paul, 55, picked up the thrashing ocean beast and carried it back into the water.
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He said he decided to help the stricken shark because he’s “a bit of a softie, really”.
Paul told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that it was a spur-of-the-moment decision. “I just thought I’d give it a chance — I wasn’t sure if it was just disorientated or sick or whatever,” he said.
“I thought I’d get it out in the water a bit further out, see if it would swim out to sea but it didn’t seem too well.”
Paul says the shark “had a long pointy nose, blue colour,” and he’s fairly sure it was a Blue Shark, which can live up to 20 years and reach around 10 feet in length.
“I’ve never seen one that close to the beach, that’s the important thing. I once saw one off the rocks about 20 years ago but that’s enough I think,” he said.
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Sharks are known for their attacks win surfers and Paul says he hopes that one day in the future, the one he rescued might be in a position to return the favour: “I think it might earn some brownie points next time a shark comes past me,” he joked.
Changes in the climate seem to be bring sharks closer into the shoreline.
According to data from Surf Life Saving New South Wales, the number of sharks spotted off the beaches protected by shark nets jumped from six in 2017-18 to 104 in 2021-22.
The last recorded fatal shark attack in Australia was in November 2021, when 57-year-old Paul Millachip was dragged under water by two sharks apparently working together while he was swimming in Western Australia.
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