Tributes flow for surfer killed by shark

Shae McDonald
This shark is believed to be the one that killed a surfer in northern NSW

Tributes are flowing for a Gold Coast surfer killed by a great white shark, as northern NSW beaches remain closed.

Rob Pedretti died on Sunday after he was mauled by the three-metre shark at Salt Beach at South Kingscliff.

Members of the surfing community have taken to social media to pay their respects to the 60-year-old.

Mark McDougall from the Palm Beach Boardriders described how Mr Pedretti was "tragically taken doing what he loved".

Others have remembered him as a gentleman who was always relaxed and had a smile on his face.

"RIP Rob, condolences to your family and friends," Greg Johnston wrote.

"Such a shock to everyone that it was you. You were always so chilled and good for a chat to anyone and everyone."

Mr Pedretti was bitten on the back of his thigh as he was in the water.

A friend and another surfer fought off the shark and brought him to shore, but he died on the beach.

NSW Police Service Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe said he would recommend the pair be honoured for their bravery.

"The actions of the two surfers involved yesterday were extraordinary in the circumstances," he said on Monday.

"They put themselves at great personal risk and it certainly warrants recognition."

Police were on Sunday given permission to destroy the shark, however the order has since expired.

But beaches in the Tweed Shire Council area will remain closed until Tuesday morning, when the situation will be reassessed.

Det Insp Kehoe said in addition to a shark sighting at Fingal Head on Monday morning, there were lots of bait fish and whales in the water.

"It's too difficult for us to say that it is the shark yesterday but we really don't want to take any chances," he said.

Jimmy Keough from Surf Life Saving NSW urged swimmers and surfers to heed the warnings and stay out of the water.

Mr Keough also confirmed drone surveillance of the water finished at the end of May, less than two weeks ago.

There have now been three fatal shark attacks in Australia in 2020.

Gary Johnson, 57, an experienced diver was killed by a shark near Cull Island in Esperance on Western Australia's south coast in January.

A shark also killed 23-year-old Queensland ranger Zachary Robba in April off North West Island some 50km east of Rockhampton.