Western Australia's Margaret River Pro has been shut down after two separate shark attacks on Monday.
The World Surfing League (WSL) has been left with no choice but to call off the competition after two men were victims of shark attacks on Monday at different beaches near Gracetown in WA’s south-west.
Margaret River resident Alejandro Travaglini (37) was mauled by a shark around 8am at Cobblestones surfing spot, reportedly suffering significant leg injuries, and two kilometres away at Lefthanders surf break, Danish national Jason Longrass (41) was “very lucky” to escape with a single bite to the leg.
The attacks — approximately 12km north of the main event break at Prevelly — prompted two of the sport’s stars to call for the event’s cancellation.
Gabriel Medina, who became the first Brazilian to win the world title in 2014, told his six million Instagram followers he didn’t feel safe training or competing at Margaret River and needed to say something “before it’s too late”.
“Today they had two shark attacks on a beach close to where we’re competing,” Medina wrote.
“I do not feel safe training and competing in this kind of place, anytime anything can happen to one of us. Hope not. Leaving my opinion before it’s too late!”
Current equal WCT leader, Italo Ferreira, added weight to his compatriot’s shark concerns, taking to Instagram to share his unease with the “very dangerous” situation.
In the lead up to the competition, Hawaiian champion John John Florence spotted what he thought was a shark and raced back to shore. It was later confirmed by a drone that two sharks were in close proximity.
With pressure coming from the generally unflappable athletes, the WSL made the only decision it could and cancelled the third event of the championship calendar.
“The WSL puts the highest premium on safety,” WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt said in a statement.
“This cannot be just talk, and it cannot be compromised.”