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Attack survivor dives back into waters known for great whites

Flagstaff Team

Safely back on board… Nick Minogue, foreground, with surfing mates Graham Shaw and Jeremy Shanahan

A Takapuna man who fought off a shark which bit him in the arm was back swimming and surfing several days later.

“I was definitely a bit wary,” said Nick Minogue, speaking to the Observer two days into a South Island surf trip.

The trip to the Dunedin area with three friends had been booked months ago and “I didn’t want to pull the pin – it was one of those confronting your fears kind of things.”

Minogue (60) was attacked while surfing at Pauanui Beach on 23 February by what was believed to be a three-metre great white shark, which latched onto his board until he punched it in the eye.

The shark’s teeth also cut through his wetsuit leaving him with a cut and bruised arm “which was a bit sore on the Saturday night, but okay after that”. Minogue became a national and international celebrity, fielding calls from media in New Zealand and around the world,  including Czechoslovakia, the Middle East and the United States.

“It’s one of those incidents which seems to create a lot of interest,” he said.

Back home in Auckland after the attack, Minogue, who is also a keen swimmer, decided to get back in the water the following Tuesday at the Takapuna Beach Series, held over a course close to the shoreline.

Bite marks… Nick Minogue’s arm (above) and surf board (left) after the shark attack

“I was in the water with about 200 swimmers… as one of my friends said, there were lots of decoys.” 

The confidence-building swim set him up for the surfing  trip off the Otago coast, ironically an area known for sightings of great white sharks.

“I was a bit anxious,” Minogue said. But he surfed two sessions on Thursday – at St Kilda and Aramoana – and then two on Friday at St Clair and a secret spot near Murderers Bay. 

 He wore a waterproofing casing for his arm, but said his paddling was unaffected by the shark bite the week before. He has photos of the bite marks on his board and arm to prove it wasn’t just some sort of dream, and now another set of pics of him returning to the water less than a week later. 

This article originally appeared in the 6 March 2020 edition of the Rangitoto Observer.