Shark attack at Angourie
ANGOURIE surfer Steve King has a much-greater appreciation of the phrase "in a split second", as that was all there was between losing a leg and having one with a few puncture wounds after the shark that bit him while surfing back beach Angourie tore a chunk out of his surfboard yesterday.
Mr King, who has lived and surfed the area for more than 20 years, said it was the first time he had ever come in contact with a shark at back beach.
"I always try to get an early morning surf in before heading off to work and I was in the water by 5.45 am paddling out the back on my new Cal Liddle custom board.
"It was only the third time I had had it in the water and with a one-and-a-half-metre swell running I thought I was in for a good session," Mr King said.
"I was about 150 metres from the shore and my mate had just caught a wave in. When the next set came through I started paddling down the face of the wave. As I went to stand up I got hit from behind on the right-hand side.
"The force of the bang launched me forward through the air where I started cart-wheeling as I came down closer to the water.
"For a brief second I thought a dolphin had it hit me then I quickly realised dolphins don't do that sort of thing.
"As I turned around to grab the board I saw something brown swirling underneath it. The next minute the yellow chunk bitten from the board was then spat back out from under the water."
Mr King didn't wait to hang around to grab the missing piece but instead grabbed his board and "paddled like hell" for the shore.
"As I paddled and caught the next wave I could feel a stinging sensation on my upper right thigh but couldn't see any blood pouring out of my leg," Mr King said.
I didn't know how bad it was and wearing a wetsuit held everything in tact.
"I saw my mate as he started to paddled back out but I just screamed at him not to go back out. When he came over we just had a big laugh about it and just looked at the board.
"I think I am the luckiest two-legged man alive today.
"If I had been any slower getting to my feet on the board, the shark would have had my thigh; it was just a split second, then bang."
Mr King ended up with five puncture wounds on his leg.
He has decided to loan the board to the Yamba Museum.