The last man to get attacked by a shark in Curio Bay has not hit the waves since his narrow escape three years ago.

Darren Mills, 32, knows all too well what it's like to escape from a shark's jaws, having fought one off on the evening of February 7, 2014.

This evening, a Frenchwoman is recovering in hospital after being bitten by a shark in the exact same bay this afternoon.

Mills said hearing about her ordeal was a surreal reminder of what he'd gone through.

"I find it real crazy, it's not happened for over three years. Millions of people been surfing all over New Zealand throughout that time and then that happens in the same bay."


The former avid surfer used to spend each weekend chasing the Southland surf, but now spends his free time mostly out of the water.

While Mills, who lives in Arrowtown, said a shark attack was a pretty rare occurrence he wasn't so keen to test the waters again.

"I haven't been back to the bay since it happened," he said. "I surfed for a good seven years before that.

"Sounds stupid, but yea ... maybe one day [I'll surf again]"

It took him about three months to recover from the injury to his right leg. The attack had left him with three deep gashes between his thigh and his calf.

But Mills said it was in pretty good shape considering what he'd gone through.

"It's a bit numb with a few scars," he said. "But it makes for a pretty good pub story."