THROWBACK THURSDAY: The moment a grommet faced up to a great white shark ENCOUNTER: A close-up of Chris Hasson’s photograph as his 10-year-old son, Eden, surfs over the estimated 2.5-metre great white shark at Samurai Beach on Tuesday. Picture: Chris Hasson.
ENCOUNTER: The original Chris Hasson photograph as his 10-year-old son, Eden, surfs over the estimated 2.5-metre great white shark at Samurai Beach on Tuesday. Picture: Chris Hasson.
ENCOUNTER: Another crop of Chris Hasson’s photograph as his 10-year-old son, Eden, surfs over the estimated 2.5-metre great white shark at Samurai Beach on Tuesday. Picture: Chris Hasson.
SURFING FAMILY: Chris Hasson with son, Eden. Picture: Chris Hasson.
SURFING FAMILY: Eden Hasson (left), 10, with brother Archie, 5, and sister Olivia, 12. Picture: Chris Hasson.
TweetFacebookIt was in January last year that one boy’s terrifying close-encounter with a shark caused a collective gasp across the nation.
Take a look back into the archives.
THE REPORT:JANUARY 25 2017 – 7:30PM
EDEN Hasson was catching the last of the light and the smooth waves at the northern end of Samurai Beach when he took off on a left-hander.
His dad, lifetime surfer and Nelson Bay real estate agent Chris Hasson, was standing on the rocks on the northern headland taking photographs of his grommet son and a few mates smashing off the lips.
But then the dark shadow caught Chris Hasson’s eye.
He continued snapping away before 10-year-old Eden rode the wave into the beach and started paddling out again.
Then he zooms into the photograph and sees it – the head of a 2.5-metre great white shark in the face of a wave as Eden snaps his board over the top of it.
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“Check it’s mouth,’’ Mr Hasson told his friends via Facebook.
“It’s rolled over having a good look at his yummy yellow new wetsuit.’’
The extraordinary photograph was shot on Tuesday night as Eden and four other surfers were enjoying the last of the waves.
“We are a surfing family. Eden is a talented 10-year-old competitive surfer. I’d been using flippers to push [daughter] Olivia and [son] Archie into waves all day,’’ Mr Hasson told Fairfax Media.
“Eden was surfing with his mate Taj and it was late in the afternoon with a storm approaching.
“Olivia and Taj paddled in leaving Eden and 4 other surfers out. I took the camera onto the rocks and started taking photos when I noticed a dark shape.
“I was just about to call everyone in when Eden took off on the wave in the picture and I took a number of shots.
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“Eden rode the wave to the beach. I quickly zoomed in on the second photo and was shocked when I saw the image.
“Eden was half way out and I called everyone in. I showed them the photo and everyone was in awe laughing.
“One of the surfers said just before the wave a large school of mullet arrived.’’
SURFING FAMILY: Chris Hasson with his son, Eden. Picture: Chris Hasson.
Eden said he didn’t realise the dark shape he saw was a great white shark.
“When I took off I thought I saw something and when I went to do the first snap off the top I hit something and I thought it was seaweed,’’ he said.
“Then when [Dad] called me in I thought it must be a shark because there was a big school of fish we saw.’’
The experience hasn’t scared the Hassons or other surfers along the Tomaree peninsula – they have alwayssurfed and swam knowing they were sharing the water with sharks.
“I’ve always taught the children about respecting the ocean and that sharks are to be respected not feared,’’ Mr Hasson said.
“To trust their instincts if they fear someoneis not right and always come straight in if they see something or feel uneasy.
“Eden is not deterred and has already paddled out for a surf the next day.He loves surfing and the ocean. It’s only created a greater awareness.
“I’ve surfed the area for 30 years and sharks have always been there, and always will be and there’s largely never a problem.
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“I’ve seen quite a few in that time and simply paddle in if we see one and regroup for another beach or day. When you put a seat belt on you don’t worry about having an accident.’’
Mr Hasson has refuted claims on social media that the photograph was actually a surfer duck-diving in front of his son.
He said there was no one else close to the waveother than surfer Josh Dickson seen on the left of the original picture.
“If you see the original from further away surfers don’t duck dive that deep on shoulders of waves and there is no splash or wake from him paddling or duck-diving,’’ he said.
Mr Dickson said therewere only five people in the water –himself, a friend who was out of picture in a rip, two malibu riders out the back and Eden Hasson on the wave.
He said he didn’t see the shark, but there was no one else near the wave.
Peter McCabe, whohas been shaping surfboards since 1975, said there was no question the image was of a great white shark.
“You wouldn’t get a surfer under the water with a guy turning over it’s head,” Mr McCabe said.
“I have very similar images I have taken myself.
“You can see the shape, I’ve seen quite a few.
“It’s a shark, no question.
“He is lucky he didn’t fall off because the shark looks like it’s going in for the sniff.”
Marine ecologist and shark expert Dr Danny Bucher said he believed the shark may have been startled by Eden and was rolling away as the photograph was taken, giving it an impression it was swimming upside down.
“They will roll after biting into, say, a whale carcass in order to tear off pieces, but the initial approach is in an upright position where they are more stable,’’ he said.
“Rolling on approach would take the surfer out of the shark’s field of vision, so I don’t interpret this move as particularly aggressive or predatory.
“Quite the opposite, it may have been startled by the rapid approach of the board and has broken the surface in a rapid change of direction away from the surfer.’’