This video captured by Kelly Slater during a free surf while competing at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro has sparked debate. Filmed at ‘The Box’, a notorious slab across the bay, it was Kelly’s official entry into the GoPro Challenge.
The moment that had tongues wagging can be seen between 0:17 and 0:18 in the video – a flash of white and dark cruises by the 11-time world champ as he threads the barrel. A Shark? some suggest.
While that is a possibility, it’s more plausible to suggest that it is in fact the surfer that can be seen duck-diving the wave between the 0:06 and 0:08 second mark in the clip. The fisheye lens distorts distance, so the surfer is in fact closer than the video shows.
The moment in question.
Or like KZN water photographer, Matt van Wieringen suggests, “there is always a lot of light bouncing around in barrels. I’ve got plenty footage of ‘shark’ barrels.”
The thing is, Western Australia has already gone shark crazy following a spate of attacks over the past few years. The local government reacted to this by placing baited drum lines and ordering the culling of sharks. Which could explain why a shark was the first thing on many viewers’ mind.