Even before last week, Geoff (Camel) Goulden had earned a reputation in Western Australia's surfing community as a daring big-wave rider. But by helping save a shark-attack victim in remote coastal waters last week, the 40-year-old Goulden (below) added immeasurably to his legend.
On Aug. 28, Jon Hines, 34, a vacationing civil engineer from New South Wales, was plying the waves off scenic Red Bluff, some 550 miles north of Perth, when he was bitten in the abdomen by a shark of unknown species. Witnesses say Hines did plenty to save himself, punching the shark's nose before it bit him a second time on his right arm. With blood in the water and the predator presumably still in the vicinity, Goulden swam to Hines, told him to grab hold of his leg rope and paddled them both to shore. From there beachgoers drove a still-conscious Hines for an hour and a half over unpaved roads before he could be transferred to an ambulance and taken to the nearest hospital. Hines, the sixth victim and first survivor of a Western Australia shark attack in the past 10 months, was said to be in stable condition after surgery. As local surfing foundation president Gene Hardy told Australia's Seven News, "If you need someone to paddle you away from a shark, Camel is it."