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Byron Shire
July 14, 2024

Byron Bay surfer ‘stoked to be alive’ after shark attack

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'Stoked to be alive': Byron Bay surfer Abe McGrath, who survived a shark attack on Sunday. Photo news.com.au
‘Stoked to be alive’: Byron Bay surfer Abe McGrath, who survived a shark attack on Sunday. Photo news.com.au

A Byron Bay surfer is in hospital after a shark attack left him bleeding and his board snapped in half at Iluka’s Main Beach on Saturday.

Abe McGrath, 35, was surfing at about 6.30am on Sunday when his board was hit hard from below by what he thinks was a shark.

The board snapped and he was thrown into the air.

‘He’s told police the shark began to circle and then turned away,’ police media said in a statement.

He then grabbed the pieces of his board and swam to shore.

Mr McGrath's snapped surfboard. Photo Instagram
Mr McGrath’s snapped surfboard. Photo Instagram

One of Mr McGrath’s friends posted an image of his broken board to Instagram.

‘Life could have been very different this morning,’ he said.

‘So stoked to still have our mate and not witness something far worse.’

He said Mr McGrath limped up the beach after the attack.

Friends drove him to Ballina hospital where he was treated before being sent to Lismore hospital.

Mr McGrath's torn wetsuit and the bite to his leg. Photo Facebook
Mr McGrath’s torn wetsuit and the bite to his leg. Photo Facebook

An image of the injury posted to Facebook showed Mr McGrath’s wetsuit torn at the hip, exposing a bleeding laceration.

Main and Bluff beaches were closed after the incident.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) said a shark biologist would assess the injury and try to determine the size and species of shark involved.

A DPI spokesperson said a decomposing whale carcass nearby was seen to have a number of sharks feeding on it.

A second shark net trial for the region was announced this month for five beaches in Ballina, Lennox Head and Evans Head.

The department began deploying 25 drum lines daily, as well as drone and helicopter surveillance, in response to several incidents on the same stretch of coastline.


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