Surfer who punched great white shark describes 'surreal' encounter

A Coromandel surfer who beat off a great white shark by punching the fish in the eye has spoken about his experience. 

On Saturday, Nick Minogue - a surfer of 50 years - went for a morning surf at Pauanui. During his surf, a shark ended up coming at him and attacked him. 

Pauanui surf life-saving club captain Stuart Upjohn, who saw the incident, said Minogue ended up putting the board in the way.

"The shark ended up biting his board and then he ended up punching the shark in the snout and managed to get away," said Upjohn. 

Minogue told Newshub it was the "most surreal thing". 

"Just seeing this big shark's head clamped over the front of my board, its massive head there with its eye looking back at me," Minogue said. 

"It was almost like a theme park. You think its a mechanical thing from Kelly Tarltons or Universal Studios… but it's not."

Minogue said despite this it felt very real, the shark's skin feeling like sandpaper.

After the incident, Minogue spoke with shark biologist Riley Elliot, who identified the aquatic animal as a great white - thanks to the teeth marks it left on his surfboard.

Minogue has had plenty of support from his friends and family. He told Newshub the the incident was "definitely very rare".

"You're far more likely to have a traffic accident."

And despite feeling a little shaken, his experience hasn't stopped him from surfing. With a trip to Dunedin coming up, Minogue will be back in the water in no time.