The mass-media has gone into a frenzy in the last 24 hours after surf school owner and 70s Cronulla charger Gary Hughes reportedly ignored a shark cruising through his class, at Blueys Beach on the mid-north coast of New South Wales yesterday. The man at the centre of the debate can hardly see what all the fuss is about though, and was more than happy to have chat with ASL about it all yesterday.
ASL: So what happened with the shark out there mate?
GH: Ah mate, it was near the end of the lesson, it was cruising by, and you could see it wasn’t heading anywhere near us. It wasn’t a big deal, really.
ASL: Could you see what sort of shark it was?
GH: Mate I’m an expert on snakes and women, but not sharks sorry. I’m not quite sure. It wasn’t a dolphin, but it probably wasn’t a wobbegong either, haha.
ASL: You’ve kinda been branded as irresponsible in the news.
GH: Where’s that?
ASL: The Daily Telegraph in Sydney, news.com.au, few others on the net.
GH: Ah, they’re all covering it too. Right. Unreal, I might make some money out of this. Even A Current Affair got in touch, I’ve been trying to get Kelly Dahlberg’s number for years!
ASL: You sure you didn’t employ the shark?
GH: Haha it’s good shit ay? I tried to tell my Mum that any publicity is good publicity, but she didn’t want a bar of it. Peter Townend (surfing’s first world champ, 1976) told me that and it’s always stuck with me. As long as no-one’s getting hurt I don’t see the problem. And I wasn’t being irresponsible, I was between the shark and the students and it was just having a cruise. We see heaps of sharks up here and they’re pretty placid really.
ASL: Okay cool, glad to hear.
GH: No worries, and this is going on your webpage? Cool. Thanks guys.