Police say a 32-year-old surfer has been critically injured by a shark at the same Australian coastal town where a Japanese tourist was killed in February.

A police statement said the local man was surfing with two friends at Light House Beach in Ballina on Thursday when he was bitten by a shark, "suffering significant injuries to his lower legs."

His friends helped him to shore and he was expected to be flown by helicopter 100 kilometers (60 miles) north to Gold Coast Hospital.

Police have released no details about the shark.

A 41-year-old Japanese tourist was surfing just north of Light House Beach at Shelly Beach in February when police say a great white shark 3 to 4 meters (10 to 13 feet) long tore off both his legs.