SYDNEY: An Australian surfer has revealed his fright at being bitten by a shark during a morning dip today, the latest in a string of attacks which has prompted calls for action.
Justin Daniels, 42, had just caught a wave and was paddling back out at Shelly Beach about 70 kilometres north of Sydney when he felt a thud and saw the six-foot animal thrashing under his board.
"I saw it was submerged, it was under me just thrashing," Daniels told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, adding that he tried to shake the animal off.
He said he hadn't notice the teeth marks on his hand until he was back on the beach, as he expressed his relief that the ordeal was short-lived and without serious injury.
"It easily could have taken my hand or my arm or come back for me. It was pretty frightening," he said. "It's just very lucky."
The incident comes just days after a 65-year-old man was bitten on the ankle by what he thought to be a great white shark at Black Head Beach, about 225 kilometres north of Sydney, while paddling in a surf ski.
Last month several other beaches in New South Wales were closed after a bodyboarder was seriously injured by a shark.
Weeks earlier, a surfer suffered serious arm and leg injuries after being bitten at Evans Head in the state's far north, the same area in which a Japanese surfer died in February after his legs were torn off in a shark attack.
The New South Wales government has ruled out culling sharks, but state Premier Mike Baird last week said the attacks were "unprecedented, they're extraordinary and they are going to require action".
Daniels said he had been extra cautious in the wake of the recent attacks but nothing had prepared him for today's experience.
"You are being attacked by a live animal...It is just survival. I just wanted to get out of there basically," he said.
He said his biggest worry was that the attack happened only 3-5 metres from the sand and any swimmer or paddler could have been attacked.
"Any child could be swimming in the gutter, anyone could have been going out for a swim," he said.
The type of shark involved in the incident is not yet known.