Beaches to reopen as tributes flow for ‘down to earth’ Nick Slater
A spokesperson for the Gold Coast City Council said beaches from Snapper Rocks on the NSW border to Burleigh would reopen on Thursday, with aerial surveillance and jet ski patrols continuing until Friday.
“We advise surfers and beach users to take care and check with lifeguards before going in if there are bait fish in some areas,” they said.
Mr Slater worked for Mermaid Beach-based London Estate Agents. But his boss, Ron London, described him as an “advocate for working to live, rather than living to work – which is rarer and rarer these days”.
Josh Lawson, a fellow sales agent and surfing buddy, said Mr Slater was “down to earth [and] always had my back”.
“He’s going to be really, really missed,” Mr Lawson said. “We just surfed all day every day pretty much – in between work, before work, after work.”
Another friend, Greg Smith, wrote on social media that he had spoken to Mr Slater only hours before the fatal surf. “So many adventures and good times,” he wrote alongside a video tribute to the man. “Love you mate.”
Miami neighbour Lindsay Foster said Mr Slater was a “very nice fella”.
Sharks responsible for fatal attacks are not hunted in Queensland. As part of equipment checks along the coast on Wednesday, a 3.3-metre tiger shark was caught in drum lines off Kirra Beach. Another measuring 2.2 metres was caught in a net at Currumbin.
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries warned the lines did not “prevent sharks from entering” particular areas. A spokesman for Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said there was no indication either animal was responsible for the attack — caught on surf cameras along with the frantic rescue effort.
Greenmount Beach has had shark control equipment, including eight drumlines and a net, in place since 1968. Mr Furner told Parliament these were checked on Tuesday morning.
“Experts were still working to confirm what species of shark was involved in Tuesday’s attack,” he said. “This is the first fatality at this beach – and the second at a shark control program beach since the program began in 1962.”
Offering her “deepest condolences” to Mr Slater’s family and friends, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she believed the state’s shark control program had been saving lives for generations, given there had not been a fatal attack on the Gold Coast since 1958.
That attack saw 21-year-old Chelmer man Peter Gerard Spronk mauled by a 12ft shark at Surfers Paradise, The Sydney Morning Herald reported at the time.
With Lydia Lynch and Toby Crockford
Matt Dennien is a reporter with Brisbane Times.