Fatal shark attack on lifeguard to be marked

A fatal shark attack 50 years ago will be remembered at St Clair Beach this morning.

Half a century after pulling the mortally wounded Les Jordan (19) on to their surfboards, Ian Graham, of Christchurch, and Sandy McDowell, of Bathurst, Australia, will present the Jordan Family Trophy at the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club.

The two men were surfing when the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club lifeguard was attacked on a training swim, shortly before 7am on February 5, 1964.

The then 26-year-old Mr Graham and 19-year-old Mr McDowell paddled 250m out into the blood-stained surf, while two sharks circled nearby, to bring the fatally wounded Mr Jordan ashore.

Both men were later awarded the George Medal for bravery.

Today, Mr Graham (now 75) and Mr McDowell (68) will present a memorial trophy made from old St Clair Beach piles to Mr Jordan's brother, Alan, in recognition of the family's contribution to New Zealand surf lifesaving.

It will be the first time the men have met the family since they were pallbearers at Les Jordan's funeral in 1964.

''It will bring back a few memories. It is something you don't think will happen to you,'' Mr Graham said yesterday.

''Every time I am in Dunedin, I always go out to St Clair. It's reflection.''

The Jordan Family Trophy will be awarded to the winner of the annual White Island surfboard paddle race, shortly after 10am today.

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