'He jumped straight back in the surf the next day'

FRIDAY 6am: THE surfer who caught a wave directly above a shark off the Byron coast, featured in the now-viral video has been identified.

Fajiri Fajiri was a "little rattled" by the experience after the shark was filmed swimming under the seemingly unaware surfers, including him, confirmed his ex-wife Emma Fajri-Kempnich.

"Faj moved over here from Indo just over 10 years ago," Ms Fajiri-Kempnich.

"Before he moved over here he was a lifeguard on Kuta beach and surfed every day.

"But he didn't surf at all for the first 3 years of living in Oz because he was a bit wary about the sharks over here.

"Eventually his love of surfing took over and Faj is now a regular in the waves around Byron and Lennox.

"He's now used to sharing the ocean with these impressive creatures, and had a couple of other close encounters with sharks in recent years.

"Despite the recently high rate of shark attacks they don't deter him at all.

"Like myself and most of our family, Faj understands that, as a surfer we are in their territory, and while it's important to find a way to co-exist safely with these creatures, we are responsible for making that choice to enter their domain.

"Faj follows logical measures of alerting others and promptly leaving the surf or temporarily avoiding areas where there is a sighting.

"The footage you see is by far the closest encounter he has had so far - and hopefully the closest he'll ever come to one again!

"Faj was certainly a little rattled by this occurrence, but pushed aside any hesitation it caused and jumped straight back in the surf the next day.

"It's awesome that the event was caught on video and hilarious that it's now blowing up the internet!

"As our community grapples with what to do to improve shark safety, and whether to implement controversial shark nets, I think this footage highlights an interesting point, that sharks are by nature curious creatures and don't always pose a threat to humans, while at the same time reminding us to have due diligence and respect for their presence.

"Big thanks to Derik Broshar for capturing this footage and making it available to the public, so that everyone else, and especially Fajri, can play back this momentous experience!"


UPDATE 1.10pm: DERIK Broshar, of Iowa, had no idea he would become an internet sensation with his shark video.

After The Northern Star posted a story about his incredible video, Mr Broshar was inundated with media enquiries from Sweden, Latin America, Czechoslovakia and ABC America.

The video became a viral sensation, hitting 61,000 views in one day, and Mr Broshar had to get a licencing agreement to deal with the number of enquiries.

He said he had no idea about all the previous attacks, and how many great whites had been tagged off the North Coast.

"I only knew about the most recent attack," he said.

"I had no idea about the extent of it."

Mr Broshar said the media interested was exciting and nerve wracking at the same time, and it culminated with an interview on Sunrise this morning.

"I couldn't believe how viral the video went as fast as the video did," he said.

"I have seen viral videos before, and obviously I have viewed them, but I have never been on the receiving end like that.

"I don't have a very big audience, but I thought it would be something interesting for the people of Byron Bay.

"I didn't sleep last night because things were running through my head - what if this happens or what if that happens, so it was a little nerve wracking."

Mr Broshar said that he was booked into the house he was staying at until Friday but may stay longer if the weather remained good.

He said he had planned on doing a bit of surfing but after hearing all the stories from media he was still a bit nervous.

Having said that, he said he would still consider getting out there and having go.


UPDATE 10.50am: A WHITE shark is most likely to be the shark that was caught on camera swimming under surfers at the Pass in Byron Bay earlier this week, says a marine ecologist.

Dr Daniel Bucher said the distortion of the water makes it difficult to identify the shark species on the video.

But based on an assessment of the shape of the shark's snout, lower fin and lobe of the tail, Dr Bucher was able to make an educated guess it was a white shark.

"It does, from what I can see, look like a juvenile white shark," Dr Bucher said.

Dr Bucher said white sharks almost always have a symmetrical tail whereas bull and tiger sharks have asymmetrical tails and  blunt snouts.

The video of the close encounter shouldn't surprise people says Dr Bucher, who said sharks usually swim underneath or near unsuspecting surfers regularly.

"This is what happens between sharks and people," he said.

Juvenile white sharks don't often prey on larger animals with the species mostly targeting fish, according to Dr Bucher.

He said juveniles may hunt larger prey such as surfers if they seem injured or weak. 

Last night, Dr Bucher said the encounter was informally discussed between Department of Primary Industries representatives and the Ballina community at the DPI's shark community consultation meeting.


THURSDAY 7.45am: A VIDEO of a shark swimming under surfers as they catch waves along the Byron coast has amassed almost 61,000 views since being posted.

Readers of The Northern Star have posted their reactions to the video on our Facebook page.

"Don't know why anyone on the North Coast would even want to go in the water around here. There's been that many attacks here it's ridiculous," Justin Zellers said.

"And they still keep going in, then wonder why they're attacked," Debbie Ingrid Kalnins said.

"We used to watch the sharks among the swimmers at Lookout on Straddy. They never nibbled anyone back 45 years ago," Norman Brownlie said.

"'Close call'??? Do you know how many sharks there are out there??? Do you know how many shark attacks there are in comparison to road accidents etc??? I'm always having close calls with cars... Sharks don't usually predate on humans, even when given the chance... Only great white , bull and tiger sharks (rarely) attack humans..." Vaylira Pash said.

"How big would that shark be, to me it's quiet small. Ok, I know it can still bite if it wants to, but I'm not so sure this one would be that much of a worry," Belinda Boland said.

"Hopefully this scares enough people and we get the waves to ourselves haha," Lachlan Copeland said.


WEDNESDAY 12.40pm: AN AMERICAN adventurer has witnessed another close encounter with a shark along the Byron coast and managed to get footage of the incident yesterday at 1pm.

Derik Broshar, of Iowa, went up to The Pass in Byron Bay with a few friends when he noticed a shark come out from left of view and approach the twenty surfers.

He said he watched as the shark made its way directly towards them and people around him started to exclaim that they should alert the authorities.

"We were looking down at all the surfers having a good time, and we saw this shark," Mr Broshar said.

"It just slowly moves in towards the surfers and you can kinda of hear some people in the background say, 'We should warn them'.

"There are a few guys trying to whistle down but it was a little windy so you couldn't really hear us from that far up.

"It starts to turn back and as it turns back a surfer catches a wave right over it."

The shark was around the surfers for around a minute and a half and then left the area once the surfer went over it with its board.

Mr Broshar said they were not able to identify the shark but did hear later that surfers started exiting the water after having seen it swim near them.

Mr Broshar said that he had planned to do a little bit of surfing as he is from the mid-west in the States, and had never done it before.

He said he would still consider doing it but just ensure he chose the right time and place.