A second man has been attacked by a shark close to where a surfer was mauled but managed to bodysurf back to shore where friends applied a tourniquet to stem his bleeding.
Alejandro Travaglini, 37, was bitten on the lower leg at Cobblestones beach in Gracetown just before 8am on Monday and also had cuts to his other leg.
Friends used rope from his board as a tourniquet and provided first aid until emergency crews arrived from Margaret River within six minutes, a St John Ambulance spokesman told AAP.
Mr Travaglini was flown to Royal Perth Hospital where he remains in a stable condition in the trauma unit following surgery.
The second man, believed to be in his 40s, walked to an ambulance after he was bitten on the leg several hours later at the nearby Lefthanders break
Surf Life Saving WA says sharks ranging from 2.5 to 4.5 metres and a whale carcass have been spotted there.
Surf photographer Peter Jovic saw the attack on Mr Travaglini and said everyone was “walking around like stunned mullets” afterwards.
“If anyone is familiar with the Mick Fanning moment at Jeffreys Bay a couple of years ago, it was very similar to that, where a shark pretty much popped up and ended up knocking a surfer off his board,” he told ABC radio.
There was a lot more thrashing around after that, it was pretty hard to see what was going on.
“The surfer who was being attacked ended up miraculously body surfing into a little wave and getting pushed in by a local at the same time, who was out there with him, and making it to shore before everyone came to his aid.”
AAP understands Mr Travaglini lives in Gracetown but is from South America.
One friend has described him as “an awesome guy”.
Fisheries has issued a shark warning between Kilcarnup and North Point, and beach closures are in place.
The Margaret River Pro surfing competition, about 15km away from the attack, was suspended for an hour before resuming at Main Break with enhanced safety measures including skis and drones.
Surfing WA event director Justin Majeks said he was devastated to learn of the attack on Mr Travaglini, who is a “valued work crew member” at the Margaret River Pro.
“We’re sending our thoughts and prayers to him and his family during this difficult time and we’re working together to do everything we can to support him and his family moving forward,” Mr Majeks said.
It comes after Hawaiian two-time surfing world champion John John Florence had a close encounter with two large sharks last week.
State Opposition Leader Mike Nahan said the attack emphasised the need to do more, including using SMART drumlines rather than the Labor government’s subsidised shark deterrent devices.
“The current policies are simply not adequate,” he told reporters.
Acting Fisheries Minister Roger Cook said his primary concern was for the victim.