A surfer in his 60s has a severe leg injury after being mauled by a suspected great white shark on the NSW mid north coast.
Paramedics were called to Seven Mile Beach at Pacific Palms south of Forster where the local man was attacked just after 9am on Thursday.
The 65-year-old is believed to have been bitten by a great white shark measuring between 2.5-3.5 metres, with shark experts assessing photographs of the wounds and the man's board to determine the species.
The surfer, who suffered a deep laceration to his leg and puncture wounds to his foot and hand, managed to swim back to shore and call for an ambulance, police said.
A Westpac Rescue Helicopter spokesman has described the leg injury as "severe", with the man being airlifted to Newcastle's John Hunter hospital in a stable condition.
A photo on the Newcastle Herald website shows the man's surfboard bitten in half, with a huge chunk taken out of the side.
Surrounding beaches including Booti Booti, Boomer and Elizabeth beaches have been closed according to the Department of Primary Industries, which is aiding NSW Surf Life Saving and police.