Two holes in the bottom of Simon Shepheard's stand-up paddle board are evidence of a close encounter with a sharp-toothed fish.

The seasoned surfer was at Sandy Bay, on the Tutukaka Coast, on Monday morning when something from the deep rattled, then sank its teeth into the bottom of his board.

"I looked back and saw a tail thrashing behind my board. The board was shaking wildly and I could hear this gnawing on the bottom of the board," Shepheard said.

"Straightaway I thought it was a shark but it was a blackout with so much algae in the water. I can't imagine any other fish than a shark doing that but I couldn't definitely identify it.


"You could feel the strength. The gnawing sound was unnerving."

He maintained his balance on the board, managed to yell a few expletives and then watched the fish swim off.

"It went under the board and there was spray coming off it from its dorsal fin to the tail as it darted away."

However, he could not tell how big the fish was.

Shepheard, with another surfer who also watched the action, surfed back to shore to have a closer look at the damage.

They found two holes, about 25cm apart, on the base of the black-coloured board.

"There are two definite clean punctures in the board. I spoke to an experienced fisherman and he said the behaviour sounded like a mako."

Sighting the fish was impossible as a sea of red seaweed has descended on the popular surf beach.

"It was really still and no wind. The seaweed has been hanging around for a few days and it's turned into a dense thick soup. I think there are a few fish in there with all the nutrients."

He said he had paddled out through the metre-high waves and was staring at the horizon when suddenly his board was struck from below.

The close encounter has not deterred the surfer with 40 years' surfing experience and today he was working on plugging the holes so he could get back on the water.