Every beachgoers nightmare came true today at Ōhope Beach when a shark was spotted in surf just metres from the shore.

Rotorua Daily Post reporter Ben Fraser was strolling down the beach when he and his family spotted a group of people staring at the water.

Witnesses say the shark was swimming less than 10 metres from the shore. Photo / Supplied
Witnesses say the shark was swimming less than 10 metres from the shore. Photo / Supplied

The family also stopped and discovered what the crowd was staring at: a "fairly sizable shark" swimming no more than10 metres from the shore.

"I'm no shark expert but it was quite big, judging by the distance between its tail and fin," he said.

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He said the group of bystanders looked like they had jumped out of the water when the shark appeared, but other people were swimming blissfully unaware a few hundred metres down the beach.

"It's pretty freaky . . . we had been swimming there earlier that day".

Whakatāne Surf Life Saving Club, which operates in Ōhope, has been contacted for comment.