Set to return to the world tour in a week or so, J-Bay also made headlines recently when the line-up had to be cleared after a Great White was spotted cruising the line-up. Not the first time that’s happened of course. In 2003, Taj cut one of his heats short after seeing a really big shark.
South Africa is where the Great White was first declared a protected endangered species in 1991 and, since turning into a thriving tourist industry in the form of shark cage diving, has built up quite the shark rep for itself. Dyer Island located just off Cape Town even earning itself the nickname of Shark Alley due to the large variety of species in the area.
The practice of chumming, baiting sharks closer to shore for tourists, most likely hasn’t helped reduce South Africa’s number of shark attacks, the third highest country on the International Shark Attack File and counting 12 fatal attacks in the last 5 years.
However, it’s important to remember that different shark species favour different niche habitats. The huge seal colonies that live off of Cape Town are what really lure Great Whites to the region. Kosi Bay estuary, located at the north-eastern extremity of South Africa, is a well known hot spot for bull sharks, known to the locals as Zambezi.
On the East coast around Durban the beaches are netted so there’s not too much to worry about there but up and down the rest of the coastline you’d do well to ask locals for info and take standard precautions such as avoiding known feeding times, surfing alone etc.