Kiwi pro surfer first back in water after shark attack halts competition in Western Australia

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AAP

Kiwi surfer Paige Hareb was one of the first back in the water at the Margaret River WSL event in Western Australia after a man was attacked by a shark nearby. 

Local surf star Paige Hareb (Taranaki, NZ) (pictured) attracted a large crowd during her round clash against Chelsea Hedges (AUS) and Tyler Wright (AUS), where she advanced in first place during round 1 of the Subaru Pro in Taranaki today.

Paige Hareb.

Source: Photosport

The man, in his 30's, was bitten on the lower leg at Cobblestones beach in Gracetown just before 8am on Monday but managed to body surf back to shore before friends used rope from his board as a tourniquet..

Friends used the rope from the victim's board and gave him first aid until emergency crews arrived from Margaret River within six minutes, a St John Ambulance spokesman told AAP.

The victim was flown to Royal Perth Hospital where he remains in a stable condition.

A spokeswoman said he was being assessed and would later be transferred to the trauma unit.

The Margaret River Pro international surfing competition, which is about 15km away from the attack, was suspended for about one hour, but then resumed at Main Break with Kiwi Hareb one of the two surfers who went back in the water first.

"Surfer and staff safety are top priorities for the World Surf League," a spokeswoman said.

"Further enhanced safety measures, including ski and drone presence, will be added to the event's mitigation protocols."

Surf photographer Peter Jovic saw the attack from the beach and said there were only about five people in the water at the time.

"If anyone is familiar with the Mick Fanning moment at Jeffreys Bay a couple of years ago, it was very similar to that, where a shark pretty much popped up and ended up knocking a surfer off his board," Mr Jovic told ABC radio.

Mick Fanning was about to fight for a World Surf competition circuit victory in South Africa, when the battle turned to one for his life.
Source: 1 NEWS

"There was a lot more thrashing around after that, it was pretty hard to see what was going on.

"The surfer who was being attacked ended up miraculously body surfing into a little wave and getting pushed in by a local at the same time, who was out there with him, and making it to shore before everyone came to his aid."

Mr Jovic said everyone was "walking around like stunned mullets" after the attack.

AAP understands the man has lived in Gracetown for some time, with one friend describing him as "an awesome guy".

Surf Life Saving WA said a four-metre shark and whale carcass were spotted at 10am at nearby Lefthanders surf break.

Beach closures are in place for the Gracetown area, including North Point, Big Rock and Lefthanders.

Opposition Leader Mike Nahan said the attack would make international news given the Margaret River Pro event was on nearby.

He said the incident emphasised the need to do more, including using SMART drumlines, rather than the Labor government's subsidised shark deterrent devices.

"Sharks are still a threat to surfers and people in the ocean here," he told reporters.

"The current policies are simply not adequate."


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