Video: Great White Shark Circles Kayakers in Australia

A great white shark. A couple of fishermen had a close encounter with a great white shark off of the coast of Australia. Getty Images

A great white shark startled a couple of fisherman off the coast of Australia on Sunday after the creature appeared to chase the men in their kayaks.

At one point, one of the men, Ken Gerke, had to slap the water with his paddle to scare off the shark. A shaky video shows a dark fin quickly cutting through the water toward his boat.

"It's chasing me," he says in a panicked voice on the video recording. "I can hear him coming. Like I'm paddling, and I can hear him thumping away behind me."

"Holy s**t. That's a big white," he said to his friend, David Barwise.

When the shark slows down for a moment, the men are able to get a good look, and they are surprised to see how huge the creature is. The video shows the shark's dark shadow just inches from the boats.

"I've not seen one that big before," said Gerke. "He's been looking at me for a while. Did you see him chasing me?"

After the men got safely back to land, they told Australian news channel 9NEWS, that they were sure the shark wasn't out to hurt them. "He was just very curious, and friendly, like a big puppy dog in a way, and was coming over to check us out," Gerke said.

The men, in this case, were able to escape, but others who have come across the great white shark have not been as lucky. While shark attacks overall are relatively rare, great whites are credited with more fatal attacks on humans than any other kind of shark. This is due primarily to its size, power and feeding behavior, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.

As more people flock to the beaches around the world, there has been an uptick in shark attack cases in the last few decades. Worldwide there are an estimated 70 to 100 shark attacks annually resulting in about five to 15 deaths, but many attacks likely go unreported, according to the International Shark Attack File, the world's only scientifically documented database of all known shark attacks based at the University of Florida.

Barwise said that while he was not scared, he didn't realize how massive the shark was until it got close.

"If it looked like there was going to be a hairy moment I was ready to put the two kayaks together and make it a bit more of a challenge," he said.

After the incident, the fishermen smiled and laughed together in an exclusive video interview with 9NEWS as they conceded that sharks rule the ocean.

"We very much appreciate and respect these animals and definitely not out there to hurt them in anyway," said Gerke.

The men didn't catch any fish this time, but they will likely return to try again.

"I'm pretty sure me and Dave will be out there again next weekend," Gerke said.