British granddad wrestles shark on holiday in Australia

- Posted in Australia Working Holiday Visa by Dominicon 21 January 2013

Plenty of people head Down Under for a variety of reasons: the sun, the surf, the beer and the barbecue are just some of the most stereotypical reasons for a holiday in Australia. However, few go to Australia with the intention of coming face to face with a shark.

We've written a few times in the past about the ridiculousness of shark tourism and the insanity of anyone who thinks it'll make for some 'top banter' to jump in the sea with the most finely tuned predators the world has ever seen.

But what are you supposed to do when the sharks come to you?

62-year-old Paul Marshallsea from Merthyr Tydfil in Wales was trying to enjoy a barbecue on the beach (as you do) in Queensland when he heard cries of 'shark' coming from the beach.

It turned out a 2 metre long dusky shark had decided that it fancied a nibble of one of the many children playing in the surf.

Instead of screaming like a girl and running to safety like most sane people would have done, Mr Marshallsea waded out into the surf and WRESTLED the shark:

He should have just legged it 

Dusky sharks can be extremely dangerous to humans - especially when provoked. Grabbing it by the tail and dragging it backwards definitely counts as provocation - especially in a shark's book where breathing too loudly counts as a mortal insult.

"When I got the shark to just over knee deep he turned on me and just missed me with a bite," said Mr Marshallsea who clearly thought the shark might have thought it was a bit of a laugh at first.

"The shark nearly took my leg off in a split second - it was that quick.

"Where this shark actually came ashore, it is shallow for about five or six yards, and a lot of babies and toddlers splash about there - it could have been very nasty.

"My instincts took over and I just grabbed the shark by the tail."

All heroes are crazy 

Despite almost being bitten in half for winding up a monster, Mr Marshallsea isn't even put off by the thought of sharks, cementing the notion that he is actually literally insane(ly awesome).

"I know it was dangerous but it almost looked beautiful," he said, "you have got to have respect for a beautiful animal."

A spokesperson for the Australian coastguard said "we don't recommend manhandling sharks," in the most obvious statement ever, although he did add "but this gentleman did a great job".

This brings us to our last point:

Don't mess with sharks!

If you've got an insane desire to see some sharks, do it in an aquarium or watch Jaws or just put your hand in a blender for a few minutes, it's all the same thing.

If you just can't help yourself from doing insane things, do some that won't get you killed like skydiving or OZ Balling or, if you need to be in the water with some incredibly finely tuned hunters, do it with some who haven't got a taste for man flesh: dolphins.


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor with the Australian Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to Australia.