Emergency teams said they were called to treat the man, who reported being knocked off his surf ski — similar to a kayak — by a shark, at Black Head Beach about 225 kilometres (140 miles) north of Sydney before noon.
“The man fell into the water and was able to get back on the surf ski. He managed to get closer to shore where bystanders were able to help him from the water,” New South Wales police said in a statement.
The 65-year-old sustained lacerations on one leg, authorities said with a spokesman for the rescue helicopter telling Australian Associated Press he had been bitten “to the bone” on the ankle.
Late last month several beaches in New South Wales state further north of Friday’s attack were closed after a bodyboarder was seriously injured by a shark.
Weeks earlier, a surfer suffered serious arm and leg injuries after being bitten at Evans Head in New South Wales’ far north, the same area where a Japanese surfer died in February after his legs were torn off in a shark attack.
The New South Wales state government has ruled out culling sharks, but is also undertaking a review of new control technologies with a report to be completed in the coming weeks.
“These attacks are unprecedented, they’re extraordinary and they are going to require action,” New South Wales Premier Mike Baird said on Friday.
He added: “I have to be open to (shark) nets, notwithstanding how difficult I find them personally, it’s something that we have to be open to because we have to keep this community safe.”
Sharks are a regular feature in Australian waters and experts believe attacks may be increasing in number simply because more people are engaging in water sports.