WSL finals delayed by shark sighting, Steph Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons crash
Posted On September 15, 2021
Two surfers were pulled from the water after a shark, considered a great white, was spotted during the World Surf League final in California.
Brazilians Felipe Toledo and Gabriel Medina were rescued by authorities after the first sighting of what is believed to be a 6 to 8-foot great white shark.
With the competitors out of the water and the heat put on hold, rescuers checked the area for any other signs of the shark.
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Ironically, Australian Mick Fanning was commenting on the WSL live broadcast at the time. In 2015, Fanning hit the headlines around the world when he escaped an attack by a tall white man at an event in J-Bay, South Africa.
“They’re probably looking for my phone number to enlighten me – it’s your fault,” he joked.
“The WSL protocols when this happens are so good, they are so fast.
“They’re taking no chances, surfers have seen it enough in so many areas, it’s just an urgent break. It’s like a time out in football.”
The WSL’s Jessi Miley-Dyer said protecting everyone is the top priority.
“We just had a shark that pierced the side of the roster, it’s about 6-8ft, so what’s our protocol, we’re going to look for the roster, make sure it’s gone, then we’re going restart We’re looking at a 15-minute take, ”WSL’s Jessi Miley-Dyer said.
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Surfing resumed, with Medina edging out Toledo to claim her third world title.
A second sighting interrupted the women’s final between Brazilian Tatiana Weston Webb and American Carissa Moore, before Moore added a fifth world title to the Olympic gold medal she won in Tokyo.
Disappointment for Australians Steph Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons, Gilmore eliminated in the first round, while Fitzgibbons were beaten in the second round.
“It’s not my best time, for sure,” Gilmore said.
“It was really hard to pick a good wave there – there was like a tear going through the left and it created ribs on the right and my plan was to stay on the right and try to break it. choose a clean one. “
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