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NSW teen's lucky escape against shark

AAP logoAAP 25/09/2016 Anna Hitchings

A teenage surfer bitten by a shark off a notorious section of the NSW north coast has escaped from the ordeal with only a few stitches.

Cooper Allen, 17, was surfing at Ballina's Lighthouse Beach on Monday morning when the shark bit him once on his upper thigh.

Fellow surfer Dan Webber said there were four huge gashes on his leg five centimetres apart.

"The shark was a massive f***ing thing," he told The Australian.

A Lismore Base hospital spokeswoman told AAP the teen will only need a few stitches.

A 3.5m great white shark was later spotted off Lighthouse Beach, which was closed along with all beaches within the Ballina Shire for at least 24 hours.

It's the 11th shark attack on an 70km stretch of the north coast between Byron Bay and Evans Head since January last year.

Ballina Mayor David Wright said he felt "sick" when he heard the news.

"We've gone back to where we were last year," he told AAP.

There were five attacks on Ballina beaches alone last year, including the death of Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara.

Monday's attack came weeks after a trial to install eco-friendly shark nets in the area was scrapped after conditions became too rough.

The last attack in the area occurred in April this year, when a 12-year-old boy was bitten on the foot while swimming at Byron Bay.

Mr Wright said he had been in talks with Premier Mike Baird and the Department of Primary Industries about shark detection, with some preventative devices, including tagging and drones, to start later this week.

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