Surfer Brendan Denton, 35, survived a shark attack at a Port Alfred beach yesterday.
All the beaches in the area have been closed until further notice.
Denton was surfing at East Beach at about 10am yesterday when he felt a tug at his feet and realised it was a shark.
“I tried to fight the shark off, but it became (more) aggressive and started dragging me by the feet under the water,” Denton said.
When he released the leash attaching his ankle to the surfboard, the shark made off with the board, but only briefly.
While Denton was trying to make it back to shore, his surfboard resurfaced a few metres away and he used it to paddle to the beach.
His friend and other surfers, who had heard his screams and seen the splashing, helped him to get to a doctor.
Port Alfred police spokesperson Mali Govender said Denton’s injuries looked serious.
As he was wheeled into theatre for surgery, she told him she could see his feet. He replied by saying he could not feel them.
Before this, paramedics on the scene had said Denton may need to have the tendons on his feet and on the insides of both ankles re-attached.
Govender described the water at East Beach as “very murky”, saying sharks were usually found in water like that.
Juan Pretorius of the National Sea Rescue Institute said initial indications showed it was a bronze shark or a Zambezi bull shark that had attacked Denton, but they would wait for experts to investigate the bite marks.