Bob Smith's first thought after a shark latched on to his leg was, "You're not going to get me that easily."
The Nowra resident and his friend Glenn Askew were surfing off Seven Mile Beach on Sunday morning.
The sky was grey, the water murky, but the waves were all right and the water was warm.
The pair had the surf to themselves apart from a couple who were swimming.
However, things took a dramatic turn at the end of Mr Smith's third wave.
"I had just jumped off into shoulder-deep water and felt something brush my right leg," he said.
"I instantly thought leg rope, and then it latched onto my left leg. It started thrashing. It was like a banging sensation.
"I thought, 'You're not going to get me that easily.'
"You know how people say you get more strength when things like this happen? Well I grabbed my longboard and pulled it right down into the water.
"I got on and the shark let go."
Mr Smith's friend paddled over to him.
"I said there's a shark under me, and he caught the next wave in."
"But my board was still pointing out and I had to dangle my leg in the water to turn it around. It was a horrible feeling."
Back on the beach Mr Smith saw about 15 holes in his foot and ankle. He discovered more when he rolled up the leg of his wetsuit.
He and Mr Askew then headed back into the surf to warn the swimming couple.
"I didn't really want to go back out. But I've got some conscience and when Glenn suggested paddling back out I said, 'stuff it' and I paddled out," Mr Smith said.
After wrapping his foot in paper towels and a plastic bag he made his way to Shoalhaven Hospital.
"Thankfully, it wasn't a man-eating 12-footer. It was a sneaky little blighter that took a bite," he said.