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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 March 2007, 10:34 GMT
Australian unfazed by shark bite
An Australian surfer has described the moment that she was attacked by a shark while surfing off New South Wales.

Former professional surfer Jodie Cooper said it grabbed hold of her hand as she paddled out from South Golden Beach, biting into her knuckles.

"It just came up from underneath me and just bit me, just like in the movies," she told Australian Associated Press.

But Ms Cooper says the attack by the 1.5m (five foot) fish will not stop her surfing, comparing it to a dog bite.

"I just went 'okay, I'm being attacked by a shark'," Ms Cooper, who achieved the rank of world number two on the women's surfing circuit in the 1980s, told the AAP news agency.

"It's pretty classic, except lucky it was a small shark, a little five-foot thing," she added. "I didn't even see the thing the whole time, it just gave me a good old chomp on the hand and took a couple of knuckles."

It's just like I've been bitten by a big dog, just down to the bone on two knuckles, and then about 10 teeth lacerations up my hand
Jodie Cooper
Ms Cooper said she managed to get the animal off and warn her fellow surfers before catching a wave back in.

But she is keen to play down any notion that she was brave, saying that she was afraid the shark would return to another try.

"It's one of those things in all honesty that we can laugh about now and I'm just laughing about it."

But despite her fear Ms Cooper, who was treated in hospital, says she is determined to get back out on the water as soon as possible.

"It's just like I've been bitten by a big dog, just down to the bone on two knuckles, and then about 10 teeth lacerations up my hand," she said.

"There doesn't appear to be any ligament damage... and I can sort of wiggle my hand - I'll give it a couple of days and then I'll go surfing for sure."

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