Back in the wa­ter as soon as he can

Whangarei Report - - HISTORY -

When a doc­u­men­tary came on about great white sharks last week, An­drew “Nugget” Brough didn’t switch channels.

And when an Amer­i­can shark at­tack re­searcher asked him to mea­sure the span of the fear­some great white chomp mark on his surf­board — com­plete with the em­bed­ded tooth his Oc­to­ber 19 at­tacker left be­hind — he did it with ease.

Two weeks on from the Baylys Beach at­tack by a great white shark — es­ti­mated to be about 3m long and 300kg, the Whanga¯ rei surfer hasn’t changed his mind about go­ing back in the wa­ter.

“It’s just that free­dom. It’s hard to ex­plain,” Brough said. “Just you and your mates, out on the wa­ter. You can’t beat it.”

The 25 year old will lose the full arm cast he’s been wear­ing since his close en­counter left him with shark tooth frag­ments in his arm, a sou­venir of a bone-deep wound which re­quired two surg­eries and dozens of stitches.

Af­ter that he’ll know more about how much longer he has to stay away from his plumb­ing job, and how long he has to stay out of the wa­ter.

Shark ex­pert Clin­ton Duffy said based on the bite span on Brough’s board, the shark would be a ju­ve­nile about 3.1m long, weigh­ing 290-320kg.

Great white sharks grow to about 6.4m with males ma­tur­ing at 3.6m long and fe­males at 4.5-5.2m, he said.

Brough said he was de­ter­mined to re­turn to the sport he loved.

“I’m still itch­ing to get back in the wa­ter . . . we’re all go­ing to even­tu­ally die. But peo­ple have car crashes and then drive home from the hos­pi­tal af­ter that. No dif­fer­ent.”

He said he ap­pre­ci­ated his fam­ily “a lot more” since the great white en­counter.

He wished the shark no ill — he didn’t want sharks re­spon­si­ble for at­tacks killed, as they some­times are in Aus­tralia, where he lived for five years.

“Nah, no way. We’re in their ocean. Peo­ple know full well sharks don’t know what they’re do­ing. They’re just try­ing to live.”

An­drew Brough, 25, with his dam­aged surf­board and in­jured arm at Whanga¯ rei Hos­pi­tal.

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