Port Macquarie surfer Toby Begg fought off a great white shark off Lighthouse Beach before swimming back to shore with critical injuries.
The 44-year-old local underwent surgery in Port Macquarie Base Hospital and was then airlifted to John Hunter Hospital.
Chief Inspector Martin Burke has confirmed the shark responsible for the attack on Friday, August 25, was a great white.
"The man fought the shark for 30 seconds then swam himself to shore before realising the significance of his injuries," he said.
Insp. Burke said he suffered "life-threatening... lower leg injuries and also significant blood loss".
Surfer Loren Enfield told the Port News that she was asked to gather sticks off the beach for a makeshift tourniquet.
An emergency doctor who was among those also surfing near Watonga Rocks just before 10am, gave the direction as he and another surfer tried to stem the bleeding.
A mother and daughter on the beach called emergency services. Mr Begg was rushed to Port Macquarie Base Hospital in a critical condition with injuries to his upper and lower leg.
Ms Enfield was out on the waves not far from him when the attack happened.
"It was awful, you wouldn't want to see it happen to anyone," she said. "I never want to see it happen again.
"It was big."
Ms Enfield said surfers came to Mr Begg's aid.
"There was an ED doctor present and another guy... so he was in the best [hands] he could have gotten from a really really good surfing community," Ms Enfield said.
"Everyone probably got him in on the shore within three minutes max of the attack."
Ms Enfield paddled to the beach as soon as she saw the attack to phone for help and then asked the mother and daughter to call emergency services.
"I just came in saying 'have you got a phone, we need a phone, we need an ambulance,'" she said.
"And she rang them; she did all that."
Mid North Coast Lifeguard Coordinator James Turnham said Mr Begg was taken to hospital "under police escort".
"There were a lot of surfers here at the time who assisted with first aid until the paramedics arrived," he said. "The patient was taken to hospital under police escort.
"With shark incidents things happen quite quickly and it's only a matter of minutes to give someone first aid and that all happened quite quickly."
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Mr Turnham said it's been a number of years since a shark attack at Lighthouse Beach.
"I can't remember the particular year but at this particular beach it has been quite a while, maybe close to 10 years, but the location was very close to where we are today."
Surf Lifesaving NSW said beaches in the area will remain closed for at least 24 hours.
The Australian Lifeguard Service supervisor and team have erected signage at the location to warn people to stay out of the water.
A Surf Life Saving NSW drone operator is on site and will be conducting surveillance flights to monitor any shark activity in the area.
Surf Lifesaving NSW said they were unsure of the type of shark involved at this stage and experts from the Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries) have begun investigating.