Surfer Attacked By Shark In Byron Bay, Mistaking It For A Dolphin

Dustin Wicksell

A surfer has been hospitalized after he was attacked by a shark off Australia's eastern coast, near the site of a fatal incident with a great white last year.

Jabez Reitman, 35, suffered lacerations to his back and shoulder in the attack, according to the Daily Mail, and was rushed to Gold Coast University Hospital from Seven Mile Beach, south of Byron Bay in New South Wales. An experienced surfer, Reitman was 60m off shore at dawn when the shark struck. His wife, Katherine, 34, told the Daily Telegraph that her husband recalled the shark attacking with such force that it threw him off his board before swimming away.

"It had a bite and left," Ms. Reitman asserted. "He has had a big chunk of skin out of his back just underneath his shoulder and the shark had a bit of a bite out of his hip. You can see the teeth marks typical of a shark."

— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) February 8, 2015

Since Reitman didn't see the shark that struck him, he was at first confused, believing that another aquatic animal was responsible for throwing him from his board.

"I thought it was a dolphin at first until I started feeling and realized it was pretty significant lacerations," he said.

— Noted News (@NotedNews1) February 8, 2015

After undergoing surgery, Reitman called his wife to let her know he had been attacked by a shark. She thought at first that he was joking, as her Christmas gift to him had been shark wristbands, meant to deter the animals using sonar waves.

"I thought he was having a joke at me because he was not wearing them this morning," she said. "I have always been nervous about him surfing because of the sharks so I bought the wrist bands at Christmas after that other man was taken by a shark here."

— Carlos Gavina (@CGShark) February 6, 2015

Last year, 50-year-old Paul Wilcox was killed by a great white shark at Clarkes Beach, Byron Bay. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the attack was unusual, in that the shark returned to bite Wilcox a second time. Typically, shark attacks are limited to a single strike, during which the predator assesses the nature of its potential prey.

Reitman's wife said she expected him to get back into the surf as soon as possible, despite the shark attack.

[Image: AFP via the Australian]