22 Feb 2020

Attack in Coromandel: Surfer 'punches shark in snout'

4:17 pm on 22 February 2020

A surfer at a Coromandel beach has narrowly escaped the jaws of a shark by punching it in the snout after it took a bite of his surfboard.

Pauanui seen from Mt. Paku

A surfer was fine but a bit shaken after encountering a shark at Pauanui beach, a senior lifesaver says. Photo: 123RF

The man was surfing about 500 metres south of the Pauanui Surf Club when the shark cruised towards him.

Pauanui surf life-saving club captain Stuart Upjohn said the surfer did some quick thinking.

"The shark came towards him so he put his surfboard in the way and the shark ended up biting his surfboard and then he turned around and punched it in the snout and managed to get away."

Upjohn said surf lifesavers were setting up for the day at around 10:30am and were called to check on the man.

"We ended up responding down the beach with a couple of lifeguards and a first aid pack to see how he was.

"It turned out he was actually fine but just a bit shaken. [We] Had a good look at his surfboard and it had a good bite mark in it."

The beach was closed for a time after the attack, but has now reopened.

Upjohn said it's not unusual for sharks to be in the vicinity of beaches.

"At any beach you go to you can guarantee there are always going to be sharks and fish swimming around so it's just one of those cases that you're swimming in their environment and you have to be aware of them.

"If you do encounter any, just quickly and calmly leave the water".

It's not known what kind of shark attacked the surfer.

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