John Vincent was paddling in his canoe off the coast of Coffs Harbour in New South Wales on August 17th. He was merely enjoying his day on the water when suddenly he was face to face with one of nature’s more notorious apex predators.
Vincent is a retired accountant. He was out with two other paddlers when the shark suddenly attacked. His canoe was ripped apart in a split second.
Paul Courtney witnessed the incident and spoke to The Daily Telegraph: “There are two pieces left of it (the six-metre canoe) let’s put it that way. The water went all bubbly – then it was all flat as a tack in seconds – it happened really quickly.
Fortunately for Vincent, a boat was passing by and was able to quickly rescue him. Ironically, the boat was on its way out to install a Shark Management Alert in Real Time (aka SMART).
Vincent sustained no injuries in the shark encounter. He also doesn’t seem too shaken up by the incident either. According to reports, he quickly got back to paddling around with a borrowed canoe. While Vincent appears to have no fear, the encounter surely was just moments away from turning tragic.
Great White Sharks Population High in the Area
Coffs Harbour is home to a local yacht club. Commodore of the club John Wait said it was “only a matter of time” before an incident such as this occurred. According to Wait, the waters are currently filled with sharks.
“They are out there in plague proportions at the moment,” Wait said. He added the high number of sharks is not a cause for concern. As they will soon “follow the whales” out of the area during their annual migration. “It’s just one of those things. Numbers will start to drop off again soon.”
Officers from the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries spoke to the paddlers involved in the encounter and examine the remains of the canoe which is currently being kept at the nearby yacht club. They confirmed it was a great white shark behind the attack. The shark was likely three meters long or just under 10 feet.
A spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia, “It was reported the man was kayaking between Pig Island and Coffs Harbour break wall when something struck the rear end of the kayak. NSW DPI shark biologists spoke to the man and assessed photographs of the kayak and the damage to ascertain if a shark was involved. The shark was not seen by any of the three kayakers in the area, but the bite indentations and profile in the kayak are indicative of a white shark.”