A surfer had a close encounter with a shark at Byron Bay yesterday.

John Morgan, a 51-year-old Byron Bay man, was surfing between Clarks Beach and The Pass when the incident happened about 200 metres offshore, shortly after 1pm.

The man was in the water, climbing back on to his board when he saw something move through the water.  

He was then dragged through the water for about 40 metres before he was able to release himself from his leg rope.

He quickly left the water and notified police.  

Lifeguards conducted a search of the area and interviewed other surfers but there were no further sightings.

Even though the man was not injured, he attended Byron Hospital a short time after the incident but was soon released.

“The surfer has done the right thing by leaving the water and notifying the Police Service. We were able to speak with him and get a good understanding of what has occurred,” said Northern NSW Lifeguard Coordinator, Stephen Leahy.

“He tells us that the shark dragged him through the water at a very fast speed and although he didn’t see the animal, the wake it created would suggest that it was a very big shark.

“He was clearly shaken when we spoke to him.”

 Lifeguards and volunteer surf lifesavers will continue random patrols of the Byron Bay areas over the next 24 hours.