Shark Attack: Surf Competition Suspended After Double Strike

Updated | Organizers of the World Surf League have delayed an event in Australia by 48 hours after two shark attacks, insisting the competitors’ “safety remains paramount.”

A statement was released early on Tuesday morning (April 17) as the WSL continued to monitor the safety situation at the Margaret River Pro following the attacks on Monday.

A first man, Alejandro Travaglini, managed to bodysurf back to the beach with his leg bloodied after being mauled by a four-meter long shark off Gracetown on Monday morning, according to SBS News.

The West Australian names the second victim as Jason Longgrass from Denmark, and GWN7 News published photos of the 41-year-old being treated at Cobblestones beach, just hours after the first attack.

Images also showed the puncture marks the shark’s jaws had made on his surfboard. According to reports, Mr. Longgrass said he had been unaware the beach was closed, and he described the shark as being four meters long.

Mr. Longgrass's close call came hours after Mr. Travaglini had to bodysurf his way back to shore after being attacked. The 37-year-old father-of-two fought off the shark before it returned and dragged him underwater, according to the Western Australian.

Mr. Travaglini’s friends used rope from the surfboard as a tourniquet and gave him first aid before emergency services arrived. He was flown to Royal Perth Hospital and is said to be in a stable condition after undergoing surgery.

These incidents forced organizers of the WSL to temporarily suspend the Margaret River Pro.

“We have actioned our well-established safety protocols and are gathering all the latest information to determine next steps,” a statement read.

“We will continue to liaise with all involved, most importantly the surfers, their safety remains paramount. Today’s competition 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.”

Peter Jovic, a surf photographer, witnessed the first attack from the beach.

"If anyone is familiar with the Mick Fanning moment at Jeffreys Bay a couple of years ago, it was very similar to that, where a shark pretty much popped up and ended up knocking a surfer off his board," he told ABC radio.

"There was a lot more thrashing around after that, it was pretty hard to see what was going on. The surfer who was being attacked ended up miraculously body surfing into a little wave and getting pushed in by a local at the same time, who was out there with him, and making it to shore before everyone came to his aid."

Beach closures have been put in place across the Gracetown area.

This article was updated to include a statement from World Surf League.