A surfer who narrowly escaped serious injury when a shark leapt at him at Avoca Beach said his decision to punch the shark in the face was inspired by an interview with Mick Fanning.
British doctor Charlie Fry has described the moment a two-metre shark jumped out of the water and hit him in the right shoulder about 4pm on Monday.
Speaking on Channel 9's Today on Tuesday, Dr Fry said he initially thought the "massive thud" was just a friend goofing around, but soon "saw a shark's head come out of the water with its teeth".
In a moment of quick thinking, he punched the shark in the face with his left hand.
"I just punched it in the face... and just surfed my way in [to shore]," Dr Fry said.
The new surfer said he had learnt the move after watching interviews with Australian world-champion surfer Mick Fanning, who famously punched a shark during a surfing event at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa in 2015.
"Me and my friends have just started surfing, and we saw the YouTube clip of Mick Fanning saying he punched [a shark] in the nose," Fry said.
"So when it happened I was like, 'Just do what Mick did, just punch it in the nose'.
"So Mick ... I owe you a beer," Fry laughed.
He escaped with only scratches and puncture wounds, and was driven to hospital by his two friends, who are also doctors.
Dr Fry said the experience was "very hectic" as he and his mates paddled back into shore.
"It was a nervous swim in, with my bleeding arm," Fry said. "I didn't really notice it at the time, because when you're surfing, all I was thinking was 'I'm about to die', and I was just ... thinking about getting in [to shore] as fast as possible.
"You just ride the wave as long as you can and start paddling for your life."
But the keen surfer would not be deterred, saying he would be "racing to get back" into the surf after a week off.
"The surf was rubbish yesterday, so it wasn't even worth it," Fry said.
North Avoca and Avoca beaches will remain closed on Tuesday, while beaches nearby will be "closely monitored", Central Coast Council said.
Surf Life Saving NSW said the "minor" shark attack happened at the lagoon at Avoca Beach. Central Coast Council lifeguards treated the man's puncture wounds while paramedics also responded to the incident.
The Westpac Life Saver helicopter spotted a three-metre shark north of the lagoon entrance on Monday evening after the attack and advised lifeguards. No swimmers were in immediate danger, they said.
With Jamie Berry, Andrew Taylor