Byron Bay man Prem Puri may have been 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 is pictured here with the remains of his surfboard.
Byron Bay man Prem Puri may have been 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 is pictured here with the remains of his surfboard.

Byron surfer 'attacked by shark'

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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