Surfer says mate 'lucky to be alive' after shark attack

Amber Hopkins | Facebook

A MAN who saw his friend attacked by a 3.5m Great White shark at Iluka beach early Sunday morning said his mate "was lucky to be alive" after the harrowing ordeal.

Byron Bay man Bryce Cameron, 34, was about join with his mate Abe McGrath, 35 in the surf, about 300m north of the Illuka Wall, when a shark "latched" its jaws onto MrGrath's surf board.

"He was laying on his board and he got attacked from below really aggressively, the force of the attack snapped his board," Mr Cameron said.

"The impact lifted him up - the shark was coming from the deep and hit (Abe's board) with its nose and opened its mouth and latched on the board.

"The shark got the majority of the board in its mouth.

"Abe was left floating in the water with a couple of teeth marks on his body.

"He scrambled in the water and got washed in by the next wave."

Emerging on the beach, Mr McGrath was not in shock but relieved to have survived the encounter and to be surrounded by friends, who drove him to the Ballina Hospital for treatment to several lacerations to his torso.

"He was pretty happy to be alive, he had a few of his mates around, he's just pretty grateful I'd say," Mr Cameron said.

"He was laying down, but is he was sitting on the board with his legs dangling down it would have been a different version of events.

"Abe is an experienced fisherman, he said himself, it was a juvenile Great White about three-and-a-half metres long."

Surfer Abe McGrath was attacked at Iluka Beach on Sunday morning.
Surfer Abe McGrath was attacked at Iluka Beach on Sunday morning.

INITIAL REPORT: A SURFER has been hospitalised after a shark attack at Iluka Main Beach on Sunday morning.

Byron Bay man Abe McGrath, 35, suffered minor injuries from a juvenile white pointer at the popular beach at about 6:30am.

Mr McGrath told police his surfboard snapped when he was hit from underneath by a shark.

The force launched him off his board and then back into the water.

The shark began to circle him and then turned away.

Mr McGrath grabbed half of his surfboard and swam to shore, where his friends drove him to Ballina Hospital.

He had treatment to lacerations on his right hip before being transferred to Lismore Hospital.

Police said Main and Bluff beaches were closed as a result of the attack.

Mr McGrath's friend Bryce Cameron, posted a photo of Mr McGrath's broken surfboard on his Instagram account at about 8am.

Mr Cameron was relieved McGrath walked away from the encounter with nothing more than a "limp".

The photo was captioned "life could of been very different this morning."

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

"Life could of been very different this morning.... so stoked to still have our mate and not witness something far worse." Contributed

"Our arrival to Iluka this morning, (Abe McGrath) hit by a juvenile white pointer.

"So stoked to see him able to limp up the beach."

NSWDPI confirmed it was investigating "a reported shark bite at Iluka today", with a 35-year-old man driving himself to hospital after the incident at 6am, suffering minor injuries.

Other social media reports stated it was a 3m Great White Shark.

Bryce Cameron is the son of prominent pro-shark net advocate and Byron Bay Boardriders president Neil Cameron.


Floating around the deep blue with a bunch of salty frothers #thatsliving #mentawais #fbf

A post shared by Bryce Cameron (@brickson__) on


Topics:  byron bay editors picks shark attack

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