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Surfer in good spirits after shark attack

AAP logoAAP 30/11/2016 Anna Hitchings

A surfer in his 60s who was mauled by a shark on the NSW mid north coast is in good spirits after managing to swim to shore despite a severe leg injury.

Colin Rowland was bitten by what is believed to have been a great white shark measuring between 2.5 and 3.5 metres while surfing at Seven Mile Beach, south of Forster, just after 9am on Thursday.

The attack on the first day of summer left the 65-year-old with severe puncture wounds to his foot, leg and arm, police say.

But footage from several media outlet shows Mr Rowland arriving at Newcastle's John Hunter Hospital giving a thumbs-up to cameras while strapped to a stretcher.

A friend said on social media that Mr Rowland was "super lucky" but that his foot was "mangled".

Despite his injuries, Mr Rowland managed to swim to shore following the attack and call for an ambulance before being airlifted to hospital.

Shark experts will try to determine the species and size of the shark by assessing photographs of the wounds and Mr Rowland's board, which was bitten in half with a large chunk taken out.

Thursday's attack - the eighth in NSW for 2016 and the sixth in which the victim was injured - prompted Primary Industries minister Niall Blair to announce the immediate deployment of five Smart drumlines in the Forster area.

The drums will be set on Friday, weeks after the Baird government oversaw the controversial installation of shark nets in Ballina following several attacks.

The state government's $16 million strategy to monitor shark activity and better protect swimmers and surfers on the north coast has involved the use of drumlines, increased drone and aerial surveillance.

Following Mr Rowland's attack, Seven Mile Beach and the nearby Booti Booti, Boomerang and Elizabeth beaches were closed for at least 24 hours.

The last shark incident was in October when 36-year-old surfer was bitten on the upper thigh while surfing between Suffolk Park and Broken Head beach near Byron Bay.

Two weeks before that a 25-year-old surfer drove himself to hospital after he was bitten at Sharpes Beach in Ballina.

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