Back in the water as soon as he can
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.