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Surf mum’s lucky break as shark snaps board

CLOSE CALL: Dianne Ellis and her daughter Lilly back on Wategos after the incident with the snapped board.
CLOSE CALL: Dianne Ellis and her daughter Lilly back on Wategos after the incident with the snapped board. Contributed

IT WAS a pod of dolphins that lured Dianne Ellis out into the water, but what sent her back to shore with a snapped board was a lot more sinister.

It was mid-afternoon when the Yamba mum paddled out past the breakers at Wategos Beach, Byron Bay.

With her underwater camera in tow, she straddled her daughter's longboard and filmed the dolphins playing, only to see them dart off suddenly as she approached.

A few minutes later, the dolphins reappeared.

"Two or three of them came really quickly up to my side, so I put the camera down underwater to catch them swim past, when something hit me from behind," Ms Ellis said.

"It was an immediate explosion and suddenly I was floundering around in the water with two pieces of board."

Ms Ellis clambered back onto one half of her board and with the other half still attached to her leash, high-tailed it back into shore.

"When I got back to shore, I saw what had happened - it had smashed the side of my fins," she said.

"But at this stage I was just thinking it was a dolphin so I wasn't too stressed out about it.

"I was more worried that I had snapped my daughter's board - she won an Aussie title on it last year."

It wasn't until a stand-up paddleboarder told her he had seen a "small" shark swimming by just moments before the ordeal that she considered it may not have been a friendly Flipper.

Returning back to Yamba the next day, her fears were confirmed.

"I showed a friend who said there were a couple of teeth marks on it and said I should take it to Fisheries to have a look at it," she said.

"I don't think there would be teeth marks if it was a dolphin."

Ms Ellis said she had experienced a few run-ins with sharks while surfing but had never been knocked from her board.

But, as the old saying goes, she was straight back on the horse.

"I will head back out there for sure. Actually my daughter is out there right now," she said.

"I think there are more dangers on our roads and in everyday life.

"My daughter got her learner's licence five months ago and since then I have been more stressed than anything to do with the ocean."

Topics:  byron bay, editors picks, outdoor-living, shark attack, wategos beach




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