Paddler in terrifying encounter with Great White Shark as canoe is bitten in half
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John Vincent was out paddling in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, at around 6am last Wednesday (17 August) when he had an extremely close encounter with one of the notorious apex predators.
The retired accountant was out with two other paddlers when the shark attacked, ripping the canoe apart in a split second.
Paul Courtney told The Daily Telegraph: "There are two pieces left of it (the six-metre canoe) let's put it that way.
"The water went all bubbly - then it was all flat as a tack in seconds - it happened really quickly."
Conveniently, a passing boat was on hand to rescue John - and as chance would have it, the passing boat was actually on its way out to install a Shark Management Alert In Real Time (SMART) drum line.
Fortunately, John was uninjured and seemingly unperturbed, with fellow paddlers reporting that he's already been back out on a borrowed canoe.
But while John evidently fears nothing but fear itself, it's clear this unanticipated encounter with the shark could have panned out way worse.
Commodore at the local yacht club, John Wait, said it was 'only a matter of time' before there was an incident like this due to the sheer number of sharks off the coast in the area.
"They are out there in plague proportions at the moment," he told The Daily Telegraph.
He added that numbers weren't cause for concern though, as they would soon 'follow the whales' out of the area on their annual migration.
He said: "It's just one of those things - numbers will start to drop off again soon."
Officers from the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries were called out to speak to the paddlers involved in the encounter and examine the remains of the canoe, which are currently being kept at the yacht club.
They confirmed that a great white, approximately three metres in length, was most likely to be behind the attack.
A spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia: "It was reported the man was kayaking between Pig Island and Coffs Harbour break wall when something struck the rear end of the kayak.
"NSW DPI shark biologists spoke to the man and assessed photographs of the kayak and the damage to ascertain if a shark was involved.
"The shark was not seen by any of the three kayakers in the area, but the bite indentations and profile in the kayak are indicative of a white shark."