This is the heart-stopping moment a surfer swims just inches away from a 9ft great white shark and nearly grabs its fin as he paddles through water.

Drone photographer Scott Fairchild captured the spectacular scene in Del Mar of California in US, when he took the gadget to air for aerial shooting.

Posting on Instagram, he follows a surfer who is seen adjusting his position before lying on his board and paddling through the greenish blue water.

Not far away from the surfer sees a huge apex predator lurking around and swimming towards the surfer.

As the surfer waits for the wave to hit, he dips his hands in the water to paddle forward without knowing a sea beast approaching.

He narrowly misses touching the shark's dorsal fin, but more importantly, he swims past safely.

Scott wrote on his post: "The great white shark doesn’t even flinch as the surfer paddles just inches above it. It's amazing to see them swimming together.

"But also shocked that he didn't feel it."

Many viewers called it a close encounter and added that the surfer was very lucky to avoid a potential deadly shark attack.

One said: "He almost grabbed his dorsal fin. That was close."

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  • A second wrote: "It has to be 8-9ft, that's a big board."

    Some wondered if the surfer can spot the shark out in the water, but Scott added: "The local surfers definitely see them from time to time and are aware, but they almost never notice when right underneath because of the water reflection."

    Others mentioned that the footage is a perfect example to show how humans coexist with sharks, as a viewer penned: "These great white sharks know these surfers are there and understand they are not prey.

    "Nature is amazing and also incredible video."

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