Wayne Lynch’s words offer so much for us to learn from that I’ve decided to post his entire interview. Sit back and enjoy the wisdom and entertaining shark stories from one of Australia’s greatest surf pioneers.
Background: When I was in Australia to make the film ‘Great White Lies’ in 2014 I was fortunate enough to have Kent Stannard (accomplished surfer and founder of Tag for Life) introduce me to surf legend Wayne Lynch. We drove from Melbourne to Wayne’s home near Urquhart Bluff in South Victoria overlooking the very waves Wayne used to surf. We proceeded to chat about the culling taking place in Western Australia (at that time), his feelings about culling, how surfing and the approach to surfing have changed, keys to surviving the ocean, Vietnam and dodging the draft, and some of his best ocean stories (including crazy shark tales).
Great quotes from the interview:
Regarding surviving sharks - “Part of surfing was reading the signs, and I don’t mean the signs on the beach. There were some indications that were clear, but sometimes you just had a feeling. You had to be aware, and awareness seems to have decreased now. There are people from all walks of life with minimal understanding of the ocean who are now into surfing.”
Regarding shark numbers supposedly increasing - “I grew up surfing in the 60s and there were way more sharks back then. We saw sharks regularly and had to get out of the water regularly.”
“We are ecological members of the planet and if anything we should be stewards of it.”
“This ocean was alive with fish…with everything. Now the ocean is diminished on all fronts. I remember a day watching thousands and thousands of dolphins go by nonstop for hours and times when the bay was so full of fish there must have been one every few inches.
Sharks were everywhere, going past me, under me…it’s just something you lived with.”
“Sometimes sharks told me to get out. They never really took an interest other than sometimes letting me know they weren’t happy with my presence.”
“One time an 18 footer slid its head above the surface without a sound and looked at us. When a shark gets that big you don’t look at the length, you look at the width.”
Regarding Vietnam. “We had no place there. I wonder how many wars we would be in if politicians were sending their children to the front lines.”
“I truly sympathize with people who have lost a loved one to a shark, but I just can’t see how killing other sharks solves that.”
Photos appear courtesy of and with direct permission of Lalo Saidy and Maarten Jozef Billen. Video footage by Skyler Thomas.
You can support Kent's shark work at http://whitetag.com.au/