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WATCH: Surfer In South Africa Narrowly Escapes Shark

South Africa's coast is well known as the haunt of sharks, particularly the fearsome great white.

Even so, an encounter today between a large shark and Australian surfer Mick Fanning, who was competing in the Jeffreys Bay World Surf League competition (the J-Bay Open), broadcast live on television, has caused a few hearts to skip a beat.

The surfer is seen scanning the water for the next wave when the shark approaches him from behind. As he tries to paddle away amid the thrashing, the animal appears to hit him in the face.

Fanning reportedly escaped injury and is doing fine. (You can see the full video at the link above.)

It's not clear what kind of shark was involved in the incident, but it's clearly big.

Jeffreys Bay is located just west of Port Elizabeth on South Africa's southernmost coast.

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