Surfer fights off shark attack after shark bites leg
A second Australian surfer has warded off a shark attack by punching the predator after it bit his leg, police in New South Wales said Friday.
The 52-year-old man — named in local media as Craig Ison — was one of two people surfing around 100 yards off Main Beach, in Evans Head, northern New South Wales early Friday.
The man — reportedly a former boxer — spotted what he thought was a shark and warned his friend to get out of the water. But as he paddled toward shore, the shark struck, biting his left leg and knocking him off his surfboard, police said.
“The man punched the shark in an attempt to scare it away; during the struggle, the shark also bit his left arm,” the police statement said.
When he eventually made it to shore, bleeding heavily, his friend and passersby tied a tourniquet around his injured leg before he was taken to an area hospital for surgery.
The man’s struggle with the shark — thought to be a great white — was similar to that of champion Australian surfer Mick Fanning earlier this month off the coast of South Africa, according to his friend and fellow surfer.
“It grabbed him as he turned around … he managed to get himself on his board,” the friend, named by local media as Geoff Hill, told the Northern Star newspaper. “It was like watching a Mick Fanning replay.”
Hill also described his friend’s tussle with the shark to Channel 7.
“He was just about to sit up on his board then there’s been, his board’s flipped up, he’s gone in the water, a tail’s been thrashing,” he said.
“He’s got a couple of punches in, and he’s got damage to his hand as a result of that.”
The shark left a 40 centimeter (nearly 16 inches) bite mark across Ison’s board and thigh, Channel 7 reported.
Dark fin approaching
Fanning’s dramatic confrontation with a shark took place on live TV, and video showing the dark fin approaching the surfer from behind went viral at lightning speed.
Fanning, a professional surfer, was competing at the time in the J-Bay Open, the sixth stop on the 2015 World Surf League Championship Tour, in Jeffrey’s Bay on South Africa’s eastern Cape.
“All of a sudden, I sort of sensed something behind me,” he told CNN a day after the attack. “And then all of a sudden I just jumped on my board and I was, OK, something’s going on.”