A surfer has become the 12th person to be attacked by a shark in Australia this year, escaping with bite marks to his leg after hitting the surf on Monday morning at Broken Head, in northern New South Wales.
It's become the most dangerous stretch of coastline in the country for shark attacks, and the phenomenon has mystified scientists.
"It's impossible to pinpoint causation," said Daryl McPhee, a researcher at Bond University.
He told news.com.au shark attacks have been increasing globally for the past 30 years. "There's no one reason globally, it's a combination of factors," he said, listing things such as weather, environment and proximity to food.
"It's very difficult to work out why there's a concentration on the northern New South Wales coast."
AUSTRALIA'S MOST DANGEROUS BEACHES
"We seem them daily, or every second day," said Craig Nowlan, president of the Ballina Surf Club.
"If you're looking for them, you'll find them. Aerial patrols are a great asset, but the reality is a shark can come from out wide straight to the beach and we won't see it."
He's lived in the area for about 30 years, and says he remembers a time when a shark would be sighted only once every six or 12 months.
In Ballina shire alone, there has been four attacks times in the past two years.
- February 2015: Japanese man Tadashi Nakahara was killed near Shelly Beach, suffering severe wounds and major blood loss after being bitten while surfing.
- February 2015: Just one day earlier, local man Jabez Reitman was bitten at the same beach, requiring surgery.
- July 2015: 32-year-old bodyboarder Matt Lee was lucky to survive after being mauled by a suspected four-metre great white at Lighthouse Beach.
- September 2016: Teenager Cooper Allan fought off a huge shark at the same spot, requiring stitches for large gashes in his limbs.
Monday's incident happened at Broken Head, only 20km north. Witness Geoffrey Knapp tweeted a picture with the caption: "One very lucky surfer today".
Lifesavers are constantly on edge, and it can be incredibly traumatising.
"We're trained, but no-one is really prepared for the extreme instances we've had," Mr Nowlan told news.com.au.
"There have been a couple of pretty extreme attacks. It certainly has an impact, and we provide counselling where possible."