It could have caused the fright of his life, but after Chris Hurley came across a shark at Ōhope Beach, he felt pretty calm.

Hurley was swimming with son Jayden Hurley, 8, outside the patrolled area near the Ōhope Beach Top 10 Holiday Park about 11am on December 29.

"We had been in the water for half an hour and there were quite a few people in the patrolled area. It was busy," Hurley said.

He was walking into the ocean in thigh-deep water when things took a turn.

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"Somebody yelled 'shark' and the lifeguards started to blow their whistles.

The shark pictured at Ōhope Beach. Photo / Supplied
The shark pictured at Ōhope Beach. Photo / Supplied

"I looked behind me and the shark swam past no more than 2m away. My boy said 'oh Dad'."

The grey shark, which Hurley estimates was about 1.5m long, was not moving quickly, but lazily swimming and playing in the waves.

"It was quite cool. I wasn't really intimidated once I saw the size of it.

"It wasn't huge. But we did run in [to land] pretty quick."

The scene at Ōhope beach close to where the incident happened. Photo / File
The scene at Ōhope beach close to where the incident happened. Photo / File

Hurley was stuck in conversation with his 8-year-old for the rest of the day asking question after question about sharks.

But Hurley is thankful for the quick thinking of the lifeguards on duty.

"Everything was pretty co-ordinated. We all came in pretty quickly from the water. There were people out further than us on boogie boards.

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"They closed the beach. The lifeguards did a really good job. It was really good spotting and they were awesome."

- Additional reporting by Leah Tebbutt