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Surfer lassos huge tuna initially thought to be a shark

Surfers yelled "shark" and hightailed it to shore, but not French surfer Philippe de Lépervanche. He paddled over to take a closer look and was glad he did.

Lépervanche was paddleboarding off the surfing resort of Lacanau on France's southwestern Atlantic coast on Saturday when the fish was spotted.

"I thought it might be somebody doing snorkeling," Lépervanche told The Local France. "But I took a closer look and saw it was a tuna that was bleeding a little and looked as if it was wounded."

So the 50-year-old resident of Lacanau went about trying to catch the tuna, using the leash to his surfboard. After a failed attempt, Lacanau dived into the water when the fish surfaced again and lassoed it with the leash around its tail. He then grabbed the fish.

"[The tuna] was injured, but he was still strong and trying to escape," Lépervanche, an amateur surfer, told The Local.

“I used the waves to get into the shore,” Lépervanche told The Local. “It wasn't easy. I had my arms around the fish, my paddle in one hand, and the surfboard was tied to my leg. It took me about 10 minutes to get in.”

By the time he reached shore, a crowd had gathered to cheer him on. It was an impressive catch. The tuna stretched 6-1/2 feet and weighed 220 pounds.

Friends helped Lépervanche cut up and distribute tuna steaks to all those who wanted in on the catch, and he froze the rest.

"We're going to have a great barbecue," Lépervanche said.

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