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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 April, 2005, 04:26 GMT 05:26 UK
Surfer calm despite shark attack
Simon Letch with surfboard
The shark's teeth imprints can be seen in the board
A British surfer survived a shark attack by hitting the seven-foot predator in the mouth with his board.

Simon Letch then popped home for a cup of tea and returned to the same beach 30 minutes later to ride the waves.

He said: "It was a nice sunny day and I wanted to enjoy the beach...I can't let one shark ruin a good surf."

The 40-year-old, who emigrated from Somerset 12 years ago, was surfing on Sydney's Bronte Beach when he saw the top of the shark's head and dorsal fin.

'Pulled from jaws'

It grabbed the surfboard when he was 100ft offshore, released its grip but then swam back for another attack.

Simon told the News of the World: "He came back for a second bite and I let him have it, bashing him in the mouth with the point of the board.

Some would call it bravery - I just thought he must be mad
Owen Burns, eyewitness

"We then had a push and pull contest because I realised I needed the board back to get away - I pulled it from his jaws."

The worst part of the ordeal, he said, was paddling back to shore, not knowing if he was being followed by the shark, reported to be a Bronze Whaler.

'Lucky day'

After returning to land, Simon popped home, had a drink and then returned for another dip with a replacement board, against the advice of coastguards who had closed the beach.

Despite remaining calm throughout his ordeal, he said: "I must admit that rust-coloured shape launching itself out of the water will be on my mind forever but it must have been my lucky day."

According to reports, there has not been a shark attack in the same area for 35 years.

Eyewitness Owen Burns said: "The amazing thing was he got back into the water half an hour later without a care in the world.

"Some would call it bravery - I just thought he must be mad."


SEE ALSO:
Shark girl surfer hits the waves
06 Apr 05 |  Cornwall
Shark attack man relives ordeal
30 Mar 05 |  Cornwall
Man relives shark attack escape
26 Mar 05 |  Lancashire


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