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'There Was A Lot Of Blood': Shark Takes Chunk Out Of Surfer's Leg

A surfer is in a serious but stable condition after a shark attack near Belongil Beach on the north NSW coast.

The 41-year-old was bitten on the leg while out for an early morning surf on Sunday morning.

His friend Dane Davidson told media how the pair had just paddled out at about 6.40am when the shark -- believed to be a juvenile Great White -- tore a chunk out of the surfer's leg.

"As soon as he got out the back, he sat up on his shark and instantly a shark smashed up from underneath and knocked him clean off his board," Davidson said.

"There was a lot of thrashing and splashing. He started screaming. I was freaking -- then I saw a chunk of his board floating off."

The attack happened early Sunday morning, just as the pair were paddling out for their first surf of the day. Photo: 10.

It wasn't until the pair made it back to shore however that they realised how bad the surfer's injuries were.

"There was a lot of blood, a lot of bleeding," Davidson said.

"I didn't realise until we were on the beach that there was a big chunk taken out of his leg.

Working with the handful of other people on the beach, Davidson made a tourniquet with the leg ropes from the surfboard.

"Hopefully that prevents him from losing it."

READ MORE: Australia Ranked Second Worldwide For Shark Attacks

It was 20 minutes before paramedics arrived at the beach, after which the surfer was airlifted to nearby Gold Coast University Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

The surfer was airlifted to hospital in a serious but stable condition. Photo: 10.

"Hopefully all goes well," Davidson said.

"He was in good spirits when he left. He thanked everyone for their help."

Belongil Beach and Byron's popular Main Beach have been closed for 24 hours.

Officers from the Tweed and Byron Police District will work with the Department of Primary Industries to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Scientists have been trying to determine the size of the shark but because of the damage to the surfboard, have been unable to do so.

However, they believe a juvenile white shark attacked the man.

No tagged sharks were picked up by the DPI around the time of the incident, the department said in a statement on Sunday.

Byron Bay lifesaving duty officer Chris Samuels said shark sightings were "not uncommon" in the area.

"You always see a couple about, but an encounter like this is unusual."

Contact the author: abrucesmith@networkten.com.au