Struck by a dolphin: a bodyboarder in pain | Photo: Glenn Ellard/Milton Ulladulla Times

An Australian bodyboarder has collided with a dolphin while surfing at Bawley Point, in New South Wales.

The 27-year old wave rider was struck on the chest when he was duck diving a wave. The strong impact tore his wetsuit and caused him lower abdominal injuries.

The medical team arrived quickly, and the bodyboarder was later airlifted to the St George Hospital.

"They [dolphins] can always miscalculate. There is a possibility of error there on the animal's behalf. Dolphins have killed people overseas in the past," explained Ronny Ling president of the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia.

"We've had a lot of cases lately of people trying to hold on to dolphins. That's what they don't like," adds Ling.

The bodyboarder thought his back was broken because of the violent impact he felt after being hit by the dolphin. Fortunately, he may have suffered only internal bruising.

The Australian law says swimmers are required to stay 50 metres away from dolphins and 100 meters from whales.