74 year old JBay local Burgert van der Westhuizen was an experienced open water swimmer, who regularly swam along the coastline of Jeffreys Bay.
He was often seen training in the canals of Marina Martinique, mainly in the summer months.
Burgert had the respect of the open water swim community as he was capable of swimming 3 km in under an hour, despite his age and also completed the JBay Swim Challenge in 2012.
This swim saw cold water sap the energy of the swimmers but Burgert was determined to finish and completed the 4 K distance in just under 2 hours.
Ironically, the route of the JBay Swim Challenge went right past the site of yesterday’s shark attack on Burgert.
Kayaker Terry Olivier, who tried to retrieve the body, said he was out on his sea kayak paddling from the Kabeljou side lower down the Point when he saw the man lying face-down in the water.
He saw the shark, which was “longer than my kayak”. He believed it was a great white.
“I tried to retrieve the body but the shark wouldn’t let go. I hit it with my oars, but it kept coming back for more bites,” he said.