An international junior surfing competition has gone ahead this morning despite two shark attacks in less than 24 hours on the New South Wales north coast.
It followed an attack on a 32-year-old bodyboarder who was mauled at Ballina, 10 kilometres further south, by what is believed to be a great white shark.
The bodyboarder is reportedly in a critical condition in Gold Coast Hospital with severe wounds to his legs.
It was announced the Oz Grom Open at Lennox Head's Main Beach would be postponed following the latest attack, but today it was decided the contest would go ahead.
Under 12s and under 16s are eligible to compete in the surfing competition, which started at 9:00am today.
Detective Inspector and surf contest organiser Cameron Lindsay said there would be a helicopter and plane monitoring from the sky and no chances would be taken.
"Obviously paramount to us is the safety of the kids and the competitors," he said.
"If there's any risk to them unfortunately we're just going to have to start cutting out categories, but we're hopeful that with the assets we've got in place that we'll be able to go ahead."
This afternoon Channel Seven News said its helicopter spotted a four-metre shark at Wategos Beach at Byron Bay, 20 kilometres north of Lennox Head where the contest is taking place.
About 270 of the country's best young surfers are due to take part in the event, which attracts surfers from around the world and is one of the biggest junior competitions in the country.
Ballina Mayor David Wright said there was adequate surveillance in place to ensure competitors in the competition were kept safe.
"To be honest, even with all these planes and helicopters and boats it doesn't make it foolproof, but what we're doing is putting in an action plan that we believe is most likely as good as you could possibly do," he said.
"I don't know of anything else we could do because the plane's not flying up and down the coast it's just going to be circling over the event."
Cr Wright said the council had done all it could to enable the event to go ahead.
"Everyone wants to just get in the surf ... there were about 20 people out in the surf from six o'clock this morning anyway," he said.
"The waves have been just fantastic, particularly then."
Fourteen-year-old competitor Alyssa Lock said she was a little bit nervous about the shark warnings but was trying to focus on "just trying to catch as many waves as possible".
"I kept looking out there at the rubber ducky and the jet skis and that let me feel comfortable and safe in the environment," she said.
Nichol Wylie from Torquay in Victoria said he was not worried about his son and daughter competing in the event due to protective measures.
"There's been lots of surf life saving boats, there's jetskis going back and forth, there's been the odd helicopter and plane and so I think everyone should feel really comfortable that the waters are safe," Mr Wylie said.
"I have no hesitations about my kids being out there, I'm sure that the shark that was here, is long gone."
Meanwhile, a permit was issued for the capture or destruction of the shark responsible for the attack at Ballina but the cull order was called off yesterday.
Cr Wright said neither he nor the council wanted the shark destroyed.
"There's no way in the world I want the shark culled," he said.
"We're impinging on its territory and we're trying to make it safe so the contest can go hand in hand with whatever is out there in the ocean."
A teenager was killed by a shark at the same beach in 2008 and earlier this year, 41-year-old Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara died after an attack at nearby Shelly Beach