Meet the Clarence Valley's 'Bite Club' members

IT'S the club no-one wants to be a member of, but it is growing every year.  

Bite Club was originally set up by Dave Pearson after he was attacked by a shark at Crowdy Head on the mid north coast on March 23, 2011.  

The club now has over 500 members consisting of survivors, relatives of those who died, family members and first responders.  

They support each other in a way few can, they understand the horrific experience of a face-to-face confrontation with a shark. These members share their scars, their memories and the grief of lost ones.  

The Clarence coast has had its fair share of close encounters with sharks. Here are a few names who have unofficially joined Bite Club over the years:      

 

 

DEAN EVERSON

Dean Everson of Yamba prepares to head back into the surf where he was attacked by what he thinks was a white-pointer shark at Turners Beach.
Dean Everson of Yamba prepares to head back into the surf where he was attacked by what he thinks was a white-pointer shark at Turners Beach. Adam Hourigan

UNDER overcast skies, the 18-year-old Yamba teen was taking advantage of big swells in dirty water at the popular surfing beach on Saturday afternoon and was about 20 metres from the rocks when he got the shock of his life.   

Dean used his bodyboard to fight off a 2.5 metre white pointer shark at Yamba's Turners Beach in February 2010.      

 

Angourie Surfer Steve King with the surfboard the shark took a bite out of while surfing at back beach Angourie on Sunday morning. Photo: Debrah Novak/The Daily Examiner
Angourie Surfer Steve King with the surfboard the shark took a bite out of while surfing at back beach Angourie on Sunday morning. Photo: Debrah Novak/The Daily Examiner

STEVE KING

ANGOURIE surfer Steve King has a much-greater appreciation of the phrase "in a split second", as that was all there was between losing a leg and having one with a few puncture wounds after the shark that bit him while surfing back beach Angourie tore a chunk out of his surfboard in December, 2011.

"As I went to stand up I got hit from behind on the right-hand side," he said in a 2011 interview with the Daily Examiner.

"The force of the bang launched me forward through the air where I started cartwheeling as I came down closer to the water."

Mr King sustained puncture wounds to his leg.

 

Amber Hopkins | Facebook

ABE MCGRATH

IN September 2017, Iluka beaches were closed after Abe McGrath was attacked by a three-metre shark. He sustained lacerations to his right hip.

Byron Bay man Bryce Cameron, 34, was about join his mate in the surf, about 300m north of the Illuka Wall, when a shark "latched" its jaws onto Abe's surf board.  

"He was laying on his board and he got attacked from below really aggressively, the force of the attack snapped his board," Mr Cameron said.   "The impact lifted him up - the shark was coming from the deep and hit (Abe's board) with its nose and opened its mouth and latched on the board.

The attack came just two days after a dead whale was spotted being eaten by several big white pointers off nearby Angourie.

MANI HART-DEVILLE

15-year-old Mani Hart-Deville has been described as clever, artistic and individual.
15-year-old Mani Hart-Deville has been described as clever, artistic and individual. Instagram

THE Clarence Valley community were rocked by the tragic death of 15-year-old Mani Hart-Deville after he was fatally mauled by a white shark earlier this year.   

The teenager had joined a group of surfers off Wilson's Headland at around 2pm on Saturday, July 11, 2020 when he was attacked a short time later.   

It's understood fellow surfers fought the shark off, dragged Mani to shore and worked for over an hour to save his life.   

 

HERBERT WESTER

ON October 23, 1926, Herbert Wester, then 17, was bathing in the Clarence River when he was bitten on the leg by a grey nurse shark. 

 

MARK BUTLER  

IN February 2001, Mark Butler, 40, was surfing alone at Brooms Head when a shark ripped a hole in his left leg. 

Once he reached the shore, he was able to tie the surfboard rope around his thigh to slow the bleeding. He later received 80 stitches.

 

JOHN HARDING

ON November 13, 1964, John Harding was filming underwater 12km from Wooli when a 2.7m white shake made a threat display. The 25-year-old hit it with a powerhead. 


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