Shark attack suspends elite surfing competition in Australia

Surfers look back at the swell on Cowaramup Bay in Gracetown. Source File pic Getty Images

Surfers look back at the swell on Cowaramup Bay in Gracetown. Source File pic Getty Images

St. John Ambulance spokesman Dennis Bertoldo said the man, aged in his 30s, was surfing at Gracetown on Monday when he was attacked.

'They got him to shore and started working on him to stem the bleeding'. The hospital where the victim was taken says the man's condition is stable.

Mick Fanning was about to fight for a World Surf competition circuit victory in South Africa, when the battle turned to one for his life.

"There were these two surfers, they were sitting out together on their boards, and then it sort of looked like one of them had fallen off his board", said Cowaramup local Peter Jovic who saw the incident from the beach.

"If anyone is familiar with the Mick Fanning moment.it was very similar to that, where a shark pretty much popped up and ended up knocking a surfer off his board", Jovic told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

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"There was a lot more thrashing around".

The hospital describes the victim's condition as stable.

"Surfer and staff safety are top priorities for the World Surf League", a spokeswoman said.

The Margaret River Pro global surfing competition which is taking place nearby has been put on hold while organisers wait for information from local authorities.

The surfer was at Cobblestones about 8am on Monday morning when he was attacked.

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Beach closures are in place for the Gracetown area, including North Point, Big Rock and Lefthanders.

Once news filtered through, the WSL put the event on hold for about an hour.

He said it emphasised the need to do more, including using SMART drumlines rather than the Labor government's subsidised shark deterrent devices.

"The current policies are simply not adequate".

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