The message is never surf alone
According to Matt McIntoshs brother-in-law, Ian Graham, if there is a lesson to be learnt from Matts horrific shark encounter, it is never to surf alone.
Luckily for the young Goonellabah father of two, his mate Craig Harris decided to join him for an early morning surf at Angels Beach last Saturday morning and ended up saving Matts life.
If Craig hadnt been with Matt he definitely would have ended up like the other two guys, said Ian, referring to the two surfers who disappeared last month, one at Brunswick Heads and one at Lennox Head. Its a real warning to surfers that youve got rocks in your head if you go out in the surf on your own.
The two experienced surfers had regularly surfed together over the past decade and were enjoying the perfect, early morning conditions when Matt was dragged off his board by a two metre long shark.
Ian said the shark tore into Matts leg, severing ligaments and tendons and breaking the bone. He started to swim for shore but began to pass out. If Craig hadnt been there to help, Matt would have most certainly drowned, or been the sharks breakfast.
Craig managed to get Matt to shore, called 000 and applied pressure to the wound. A doctor who happened to be on the beach performed first aid before Matt was airlifted to Lismore Base Hospital by the Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.
He is still in hospital recovering from his injuries and doctors have said he may not regain feeling in the sole of his foot.
Now that Ive seen Matts injuries Ive realised what a nasty mauling it was, said Ian. Hes been told that he wont be able to work for maybe six months or even a year.
Ian said he regularly sees sharks while kite surfing, particularly around Flat Rock, but said he feels pretty safe, as long he doesnt fall off his board.
Ive been surfing since Matts attack, he said. Surfers are surfers and shark attacks arent going to stop them doing what they love, but my advice is surf with a mate.