THE Coffs Coast has its own version of Mick Fanning - his name is Geoff Williams.
The 61-year-old Moonee Beach local was surfing north of Sandy Beach on Saturday afternoon when he came face to face with a six-foot shark.
He and mates Peter Knox and Paul Thomas were paddling less than 15m apart when they encountered the danger from the depths.
"We were just off Witchie's when I noticed a black shape in the distance and I just figured it was a piece of seaweed," Mr Williams said.
"A few moments later something nudged my leg and I saw it was 6-7-foot shark and I said s***."
The shark then swam about 10m away and disappeared from sight.
"I lost sight of it for a moment and then I saw it come back in under the board," Mr Williams said.
"It was deep and was doing circles underneath me and then it looked like it was gonna go.
"It came up towards me and I just thought 'if you're going to get me, I'm going to meet you halfway'.
"It was pure instinct."
In a flash, Mr Williams pushed the front of his board into the surf and came face to face with the shark.
"It was only about two foot away from me and I threw a left hook to its eye," he said.
"It was pretty freakin' intense."
The shark, believed to be a bull shark, then shot off into the depths, and the surfers went back to shore.
"I've seen them in the area before but never that close," Mr Williams said.
"The whole thing happened in a matter of seconds and my mates saw the whole thing - there was definitely somebody watching out for us that day."
The experienced surfers said they had not let the encounter deter them from the surf.
They were back in the water at the same spot the next day.
"You have to get back on the horse," Mr Williams said.
"The reality is that's where sharks live and they've got more right to be there than we have - but it scared the daylights out of me, that's for sure," he said.