Australian surfing event cancelled due to shark attacks

Local surf star Paige Hareb  attracted a large crowd during her round clash against Chelsea Hedges and Tyler Wright, where she advanced in first place during round 1 of the Subaru Pro in Taranaki today

SYDNEY (Reuters) - the planet Surf League (WSL) event at Margaret River in Western Australia was contested because of two nearby shark attacks, organizers said on Wednesday.

Speaking after the attack, Mr Longgrass said he slapped the water in a bid to scare off the shark.

Two male surfers were reportedly left with leg injuries after they were bitten near Gracetown on Monday, forcing the competition at Main Break to be suspended.

Medina had a shark scare during a competition in South Africa past year when he and Australian surfer Mick Fanning had to be removed from the water.

The Margaret River Pro was canceled when the women's event was in the quarterfinals, and the men's competition was ready for Round 3.

The Margaret River Pro has been cancelled in the wake of two shark attacks in the State's south west.

A 37-year-old man needed surgery on both legs after he was attacked at Cobblestones beach, while a 41-year-old man was able to walk to an ambulance after he was bitten on the leg at nearby Lefthanders break.

Medina's compatriot Italo Ferreira also took to social media to express similar misgivings.

"Very unsafe, don't you think?" he wrote on Instagram.

"Safety is our top priority and this is the right call given the circumstances", Kieren Perrow, WSL Commissioner, said.

"The WSL puts the highest premium on safety", Goldschmidt wrote. Life is worth more!

Brazilian surfing heavyweight Gabriel Medina told his 6 million Instagram followers that he did not feel safe training or competing in Margaret River and that he wanted to leave his opinion "before it's too late". The victim told reporters in Gracetown that he had not heard about the first shark attack and was unaware about the beach closure. Everyone associated with our sport knows that.

The tournament's chief executive said: 'Current circumstances are very unusual and troubling, and we have decided that the elevated risk during this season's Margaret River Pro has crossed the threshold for what is acceptable. The presence of beached whales in the area has attracted sharks and contributed to the aggression of their behavior, which, experts agree, has increased the possibility of further attacks.

Essentially, wherever a surfer is at this point in the event (whether they were still in it or eliminated), that will be their result.

For now, the WSL and the CT surfers will look towards the upcoming Oi Rio Pro in Brazil this May.

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