Another shark scare in Australia sees surf competition canned

A man carrying his surfboard at Sydney's Manly beach on May 22, 2015.
A man carrying his surfboard at Sydney's Manly beach on May 22, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (AFP) - An Australian surfer was knocked off his board by a shark on Friday close to where a gruesome attack occurred a day earlier, forcing a world junior surf competition to be called off.

The shark bit into the man's board while he was surfing in Lennox Head in New South Wales state but then swam off with the surfer managing to paddle to shore uninjured.

"Steve just survived a shark attack at Lennox Head. Shark took a bite of his board. 2nd attack in 2 days," tweeted friend Joel Dry.

NSW Ambulance said they were alerted but were not needed.

"We were told he was sitting on his board and was knocked off by a shark. We were also told the patient was uninjured," a spokesman told AFP.

The scare happened barely 10 km north from where bodyboarder Matthew Lee, 32, was savaged by a shark 24 hours earlier at Ballina, a popular tourist spot south of Brisbane.

Both his legs were badly mauled and he remains critical after emergency surgery.

Soon after that attack, a huge shark, believed to be a great white, was spotted from the air heading north.

Despite Ballina beaches being closed, the Skullcandy Oz Grom Open 2015 surf competition began as planned at Lennox Head on Friday, but was called off immediately after the latest scare.

"We've cancelled the event for the day," event organiser Tony O'Brien told 2GB radio of the contest that attracts more than 250 young surfers, many from around the world.

Both attacks were in the same area where Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara, 41, died after his legs were torn off by a shark in February.

Sharks are a regular feature in Australian waters, and swimmers and surfers have had their share of encounters with the animals this year.

Experts say attacks are increasing as water sports become more popular but fatalities remain rare.