When a documentary came on about great white sharks last week, Andrew 'Nugget' Brough didn't switch the channel.
When an American shark attack researcher asked him to measure the span of the fearsome great white chomp mark on his surfboard — complete with the embedded tooth his October 19 attacker left behind — he did it with ease.
And, two weeks on from the attack by a great white shark, which was estimated to be about 3m in length and about 300kg heavy, at Northland's Baylys Beach, the Whangarei surfer hasn't changed his mind about going back in the water.
In fact, he can't wait to get back on his board, kick away from the safety of dry land and paddle beyond the break, a place those above him in the food chain call home.
"It's just that freedom. It's hard to explain," Brough told the Herald on Sunday yesterday."Just you and your mates, out on the water. You can't beat it."
Tomorrow, the 25-year-old will get off the full arm cast he's been wearing since his close encounter with the apex marine predator left him with shark tooth fragments in his arm, a souvenir of a bone-deep wound which required two surgeries and dozens of stitches.
After that he'll know more about how much longer he has to stay away from his plumbing job, and how long he has to stay out of the water.
Shark expert Clinton Duffy said based on the bite span, measured by the marks left on Brough's board, the shark would be a juvenile about 3.1m long, weighing 290-320kg.
Great white sharks grew to about 6.4m in length with males maturing at 3.6m in length and females 4.5-5.2m long, he said.
Brough said he was determined to return to the sport he loved.
"I'm still itching to get back in the water ... we're all going to eventually die. But people have car crashes and then drive home from the hospital after that. No different."
While he couldn't say food tasted sweeter or brews better since his brush with death, he said he appreciated his family "a lot more" since the great white encounter.
He wished the shark no ill — he didn't want sharks responsible for attacks killed, as they sometimes are in Australia, where he lived for five years.
"Nah, no way. We're in their ocean. People know full well, sharks don't know what they're doing. They're just trying to live."