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A surfer had no idea he was being chased by a shark until he watched this terrifying drone footage after being alerted to leave the water.
Matt Wilkinson, a champion surfer, was paddling on his board at Sharpes Beach in Ballina, Australia, when the 1.5m apex predator appeared out nowhere and made a beeline for him.
In the dramatic clip, Matt is paddling straight towards the shark, oblivious to the danger.
Approaching him head-on, the shark suddenly darts to the right and circles around him so it’s directly behind.
Looking as if it’s about to take a chunk out of his leg, the shark darts away at the last moment, swimming with an incredible turn of speed.
NSW Surf Lifesavers, who were recording the footage with the drone, told Matt to get out of the water and the beach was evacuated until the next day.
After watching the close-call with his own eyes, Matt told Surf Life Savers: "I was surfing out the back at Sharpes Beach and just cruising on my own and I heard a splash and a noise and looked around and couldn’t see anything.
"Then the drone came down and told me that there was a dangerous shark in the area, return to the beach."
He said he "felt a bit weird" when he got back to shore and realised how close it had been.
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"It looks like it’s going for my leg and it’s changed its mind," he said.
He added: "I called my wife because I didn’t want her to see the footage before I saw it.
"She doesn’t want me surfing for a couple of days now."
Matt said he doesn't hold a grudge against sharks and is thankful that this particular beast thought twice before chewing on his leg.
He said: "I’ve been surfing with sharks my whole life and I understand they’re there and know enough about them to know they have not too much interest in humans.
"I’m just glad today the shark reconsidered at the last second."
Beau Monks, the drone operator, said he was stunned by the speed of the shark when he recorded it during his seventh flight that day.
He recalled: "It sort of came out of nowhere, then went right up to Matt.
"It moved pretty fast. I was tracking it and notified the lifeguards and used the speaker on the drone to get everyone out of the water.
"Within 10 seconds it was at the surfer and five seconds later it was gone."
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