Heart-stopping moment great white shark chases surfers as they swim for their lives after mistaking beast for seal

NAIL-BITING footage has captured the moment a group of surfers paddled for their lives as a 15-foot great white shark closed in. 

Hein Cooper, 30, was surfing with pal Genji Pitt near Ulladulla on New South Wales South Coast when they spotted the enormous shark’s dorsal fin moving rapidly moving toward them. 

The friends plus four other surfers were filmed desperately paddling back to the rocks to escape the great white. 

Mr Cooper, who initially thought the beast was a harmless seal, told Daily Mail Australia about the “humbling” moment he realised how close he had come to being attacked.

He said: “I was facing towards the ocean and looked back towards the beach and saw a fin about 35m away.

“I thought at first it was a seal as it had its fin out to the side to get air, but when I looked back it had come to within eight metres of us — that's when I realised and had a Jaws moment and yelled ‘Shark’”

Despite his brush with injury or death, Mr Cooper said he felt lucky to be so close to “nature's finest designs” during the encounter on September 18.

From now on, he said he and his friends have since bought tourniquets to prepare themselves for future shark encounters.

It comes amid a rise in great white shark attacks across Australia.

In the 1990s there were 82 recorded shark attacks in Australia, which jumped to 161 by the following decade.

Between 2010 to 2020 there were 220.

Another close call was caught on camera in off the north coast of Tasmania.

The heart-stopping footage was filmed while dad Sean Vinar and his son James Vinar were watching sea lions off the north coast of Tasmania.

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