A diver has suffered severe cuts to his right ankle after being bitten by a tiger shark off Maui.

A Maui County Fire Department spokesman said the 30-year-old Kahului man and his partner were participating in a diving tournament Sunday when he felt something tug on his leg.

Lee Mainaga said the shark, believed to be about 15-foot tiger shark, circled back after biting the man but he kept it away with a spear gun.

The man bled profusely and his diving partner used their tag-line to create a tourniquet and pull him to shore.

Mainaga said the man's injury did not appear to be life-threatening.

Authorities closed a nearby beach and told surfers and paddle boarders to get out of the water after the incident.