05 April 2005

Shark attack survivor given nifty gadget

Shark attack survivor Chris Sullivan is reconsidering his decision not to surf again off South Africa - as he has been given a shark repellent device.

Sullivan had just arrived on a surfing holiday from Britain with friends when he was attacked by a shark, thought to be a Great White, last Monday off Noordhoek beach - at the spot where teenager David Bornman was mortally injured by a shark two years ago.

Last week, after his traumatic ordeal, Sullivan said he would not surf in South African waters again. But he seemed to change his mind when he was handed a Shark Shield by Ross Lindsay, who sells the shark deterrent in South Africa.

"I think I would (surf) again anyway," Sullivan said.

"But if I went out to Dunes again I would definitely use it. At home (Cornwall) I don't need it. It will be a few months before I'm fine enough to get back into the water, but I'm coming back (to South Africa) in August. (The Shark Shield) probably becomes second nature to you after a while."

Sullivan said that until he returned, he would leave the device in the care of English expatriate, comedian and surfer Mark Sampson. Said Sampson: "I'll definitely use it. I love gadgets and I'm dying to give it a go."

In Cape Town the device was used mostly by divers, said Lindsay.

"I've sold about 30 in the past six months to surfers. But it's mostly parents who are worried about their children."

The device was strapped to the leg and had a radius of six to eight metres, Lindsay said. It created an electrical field that caused discomfort to sharks, making them leave.


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