BYRON Bay man Prem Puri doesn't want to know if he was hit by a shark while surfing at Tallow Beach last week.
The local musician and small businessman was knocked suddenly from his board while riding a wave in open water about 100 metres south of the lighthouse about 1pm last Thursday.
He surfaced soon after with a searing pain in his foot and a sizable chunk missing from his board.
The suspiciously shark-shaped bite has baffled surfers and board-makers alike who agree a board simply would not break like that in normal conditions.
“I don't want to get to caught up in knowing if it was a shark because I might not want to go out again,” he laughed.
Mr Puri said he was surfing a perfect right-hand break with about 15 other surfers when he noticed a large pod of dolphins with babies harbouring in a channel close to the shore.
“At that point I was wary because I've seen many sharks out at Tallows and I did see a couple of eerie shadows lurking below,” he said.
“It's my understanding that sharks stalk the pods of dolphins hoping to pick up a baby that may happen to stray too far.”
Mr Puri had taken off on a wave and was setting himself up for a cutback manoeuvre when something struck his board from behind with a ‘thud', forcing it under and throwing him off.
“I didn't see what it was, but there are definitely no rocks or anything around there where I was surfing,” he said.
“Conditions were awesome with beautiful four foot right-handers going right through to the beach.
“I was doing a bottom-turn and something hit me and threw me off – it had to be something big.”
Mr Puri suspects if it was a shark taking a bite it would have collected the tail fin in its mouth encouraging it to let go.
“I took it to a local board manufacturer and he said the board wouldn't break that way normally and a wave just wouldn't do that.”
While the singer/songwriter has no plans to turn his close call into a ballad, he's at least got a good conversation starter for the customers of his wholesale chai tea business.
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