Shark tangles with surfer

FIFTY-one-year-old Byron Bay surfer had a big Father's Day surprise yesterday when a 10-foot shark dragged him 50 metres down Clarkes Beach.

John Morgan was having his daily surf at lunch time when he felt a sudden pull on the leg rope of his stand up paddle board.

"I had just come off a wave when I saw a large swirl of water, I was then suddenly hauled backwards," Mr Morgan said.

"It felt like I was riding a jet ski."

Mr Morgan said it then occurred to him that he was being pulled along at what felt like a million miles an hour towards Brunswick Heads.

"The water was dirty so I couldn't make out what type of shark it was but I knew from the splashing white water that it was roughly eight to ten foot," Mr Morgan said.

He said the shark had got itself tangled in his leg rope and all he could do was hold on for dear life while it dragged him almost 50 metres through the water.

"All I could think about was holding on and hoping the shark would untangle itself," he said.

And that's exactly what it did, while the shark swarm off quickly, Mr Morgan had the same idea but in the opposite direction.

"I think the shark was as scared as I was, it didn't want to hurt me, we just happened to cross each others paths," Mr Morgan said.

"It totally freaked me out; I'm just glad it didn't turn around and bite me."

Mr Morgan, who was 200-300 metres from shore, said he told a fellow surfer what had happened as he was paddling in and then notified the lifeguard once he reached shore.

"I also rang my wife and eight-year-old son and told them what happened before heading to the hospital to be treated for shock," he said.

The Northern NSW lifeguard co-ordinator Stephen Leahy said Mr Morgan had done exactly what anyone should do in the situation.

"He didn't panic, he left the water straight away and notified emergency services," Mr Leahy said.

"We have had a few shark encounters in the past and with the warmer weather on its way, surfers should take caution."



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