As luck goes, Shannon Ainslie is either the luckiest unlucky person ever, or the unluckiest lucky person ever.
Ainslie was attacked in the waters near East London in South Africa - a hotspot for both surfers and sharks - when he was a child, but lived to tell the tale.
Now, he has taken his surfing career to the other end of the earth, working in northern Norway and helping to coach the national surf team.
It isn't as if there aren't dangers up there, too. Ainslie has also had encounters with orcas, and they're pretty much the only creature in the oceans more terrifying than the great white.
Describing his attack, Ainslie told LADbible: "It was actually our first day back at school after a nice long winter vacation.
"The winters in South Africa are the prime time to surf, but it's also the prime time for great white sharks to swim up and down the coast.
"There's usually a lot of activity, and we had seen a lot of sharks just before my attack, in the weeks before it.
"We were surfing a place called Nahoon Reef, and I remember about an hour and a half into the surf I started paddling for a wave and while I was paddling I got hit really hard.
"There were two sharks. One came from my left and hit from underneath and bumped me really hard into the air.
"Then, it grabbed me and my surfboard and dragged me underwater with it.
"Fortunately, whilst that was happening the shark on my right missed me because the other shark got me first.
"I don't know what would have happened if both sharks had hit me at the same time - they would just have had a tug of war or something - but fortunately that never happened."
He continued: "I remember the shark that bit me let go and just stared at me face-to-face underwater.
"It was close, right in front of my face with its mouth wide open.
"I could see all of its teeth, the top row and bottom row, big white sharp teeth. I just had a staring moment with the shark, it was just staring at me with one big dark eye.
"We had this moment, it was unreal."
Mercifully, the shark had missed the target, and potentially injured itself on the board. That caused it to swim away and not attack further.
Ainslie was seriously injured, though.
"When I saw to the surface, I was in so much shock that I had no idea what was going on.
"I never felt the shark bite me."
"I saw all the other surfers paddling frantically towards the shore, completely freaking out. I was so confused.
"As I pulled my right arm over to start paddling, I see my fingers hanging off my hand. There was a bite in my hand and my wrist bone that had broken the bone.
"That's when I realised that what I thought was a dream was reality. It was the most scary moment ever.
"I was left all by myself like 100 metres offshore.
"I was panicking, looking to my left and right waiting for the shark to come back to me.
"I paddled really hard and prayed really hard, and eventually I managed to catch a wave and get back to the beach in one piece."
Whilst he made a full recovery, that sort of experience would be enough to put most people off surfing for good.
But, six weeks later, accompanied by a TV crew, he made his comeback.
He explained: "It wasn't a scary experience, but it was super weird and uncomfortable.
"There was a film crew wanting to document my first surf back after the incident, I had just got the cast taken off my hand and I still had stitches in my hand, so I had to wear a surgical glove, and it was kinda weird.
"I had these cameramen following me and people watching, so it was a weird uncomfortable experience, but there was no fear involved.
"After that, I've never had any fearful [or] uncomfortable experiences. I haven't got this fear of sharks in my hardware, I feel super comfortable when I surf the water."
As for the orcas, there was two of them, as well.
Shannon explained: "I moved to Norway to escape the sharks, because there's no sharks up here.
"That's not the real reason why I came here.
"I was surfing in a competition in the Lofoten Islands, and paddling back after a wave in the semi-final, when in the corner of my eye I saw a big dark thing coming straight towards me.
"In my mind, I knew that there was a big fish coming after me, I thought it was a shark, but at the same time I knew there aren't any up here.
"All of a sudden, this big thing came straight underneath me, and it turned and looked at me and I saw a white belly, and I knew it was an orca.
"Whilst that happened, the other orca came straight towards me and started breaching a bit.
"It was super scary but also amazing. As soon as they came past me I raised my hands in the sky and started screaming."
Featured Image Credit: Discovery/Kristin Folsland Olsen
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