A shark swims close to World championship tour surfer Matt Wilkinson World at Sharpes Beach, New South Wales, Australia, on October 7, 2020. Surf Life Saving NSW/via REUTERS
- Australian world championship surfer Matt Wilkinson came within inches of a five-foot-long shark while paddling in from a surf at Sharpes Beach off the coast of Ballina, just north of Sydney.
- Video footage of the incident was recorded by an overhead drone, which was dispatched to warn surfers of dangers in the water in real-time.
- Drone operator Beau Monks told Surf Life Saving NSW, a community water rescue organization, that the shark "came out of nowhere" and quickly jolted away from Wilkinson.
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Australian world championship surfer Matt Wilkinson was paddling in from a surf at Sharpes Beach off the coast of Ballina, just north of Sydney, when he came across a five-foot-long shark on Wednesday, according to a press release from Surf Life Saving NSW, a community water rescue organization that recorded the encounter.
It remains unclear exactly what type of shark it was in the water. Surf Life Saving NSW called it a "white shark," while The Guardian and Reuters said it was a great white shark.
The drone footage, which was being filmed to warn surfers of dangers in the water in real-time, shows the shark swimming close to Wilkinson before quickly darting away.
"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," Wilkinson said in the press release. "Then the drone came down and told me that there was a dangerous shark in the area, return to the beach. I got to the shore feeling a bit weird and the lifeguards showed me the footage and I realized how close it came without knowing it was there. It looks like it's going for my leg and it's changed its mind."