Surfer survives after punching shark 'smack bang in the eye'

A Kiwi surfer says he survived an attack by a great white shark in his homeland after punching it in the head and swearing at it.

Auckland local Nick Minogue was bitten by the shark over the weekend while surfing at Pauanui Beach, in the Coromandel region east of Auckland.

The 60-year-old said he was paddling in the water when he was struck on the side of his elbow and forearm.

Mr Minogue told the NZ Herald that by the time he realised a shark had latched onto the front section of his board, he sprang into action.

"I actually shouted at it 'f***off!' and went to punch it in the eye and missed," he said.

"Then I pulled my fist back and shouted 'f*** off!' again and got it right smack bang in the eye. It's quite a big eye, about three knuckles across, and its eye kind of looked up and rolled up.

"In between the two punches it crunched down a bit more on the board and then disengaged its teeth, got its jaws off and then I got brushed by the dorsal fin and the tail fin and swam off."

The victim was surfing with one another man at the time, with the pair frantically swimming back to shore after the attack.

‘It could have been a lot worse’

Mr Minogue was lucky to escape with just a cut on his arm and suggested his wetsuit saved him from more significant damage.

"There was blood dripping out the sleeve of my wetsuit. Thankfully it wasn't too deep. Two teeth put holes in my wetsuit but only one punctured the skin," Mr Minogue said.

"I've still got an arm and fingers, it could have been a lot worse."

He described the shark as being "grey with a white bottom" and having a "big head and jaw", consistent with a great white shark.

Pauanui surf life-saving club captain Stuart Upjohn was at the beach at the time and saw first-hand the damage to Mr Minogue's surf board.

"It turned out he was actually fine but just a bit shaken. [We] had a good look at his surfboard and it had a good bite mark in it," Upjohn told Radio NZ.

Experts confirmed to the The NZ Herald that the bite marks and description of the shark led them to conclude that it was a great white.