Surfer tossed into the air by shark in terrifying encounter on NSW beach

A MAN has survived a terrifying encounter with a shark while surfing with mates at a beach in northern NSW.

Abe McGrath, 35, was surfing in waters off Main Beach at Iluka, near Yamba, shortly after sunrise on Sunday when he crossed paths with what is believed to have been a white pointer around 2-3 metres in length.

McGrath was roughly 100m north of the Iluka breakwall when the shark charged at his board from underneath.


The impact snapped McGrath’s board in half and sent him flying into the air before he crashed back into the water.

It’s understood the 35-year-old was nipped by the shark’s teeth during the frightening ordeal.

McGrath suffered three puncture wounds to his right hip.


The shark sunk its teeth into Abe McGrath’s right hip, causing three puncture wounds PHOTO: Amber Hopkins | Facebook

The force of the shark’s bite snapped McGrath’s surfboard in half PHOTO: Amber Hopkins | Facebook

The shark then started to circle McGrath and his broken board before swimming away, police said in a statement.

Despite his injuries and to the amazement of his friends, McGrath managed to swim back to shore.

His mate’s then drove him to the Ballina Hospital from where he was transferred to Lismore Hospital.

Close friend of McGrath’s, Byron Bay surfer Bryce Cameron posted a photo of his mate’s snapped board on his Instagram account a couple of hours after the close call, captioned: “life could of been very different this morning.”

“So stoked to still have our mate and not witness something far worse,” Cameron wrote.

“Our arrival to Iluka this morning, @abemcgrath hit by a juvenile white pointer.

“So stoked to see him able to limp up the beach.”

The NSW Department of Primary Industries is investigating the incident and Main and Bluff beaches have been closed.