Paddle boarders in Southern California were in for a surprise last month when they became the point of interest for an inquisitive shoal of great white sharks.
Shooting the video shown below at Sunset Beach in Orange County, California, Courtney Hemerick and Joseph Truckles managed to capture the great whites above and below water, all while remaining remarkably composed.
These paddle boarders were unlikely to be at risk from attack from the young shoal. As juveniles, great white sharks mostly hunt together for fish. But as adults, they become an apex predator, measuring up to 6 meters (20 feet) in length and weighing a whopping 2,250 kilograms (5,000 pounds). Adult great whites can hunt other sharks, dolphins and any other food source they can get their chops around – a paddle boarder, for instance.
“I think where these guys were and what they were doing was probably fine," said Gregory Skomal, a senior marine fisheries scientist and Massachusetts state shark expert, to National Geographic. “The sharks in the video are probably checking the paddlers out, with a level of curiosity but also a level of caution because they don't know what they are looking at.”
It’s likely the sharks were merely curious about the shapes of the boards. However, experts do recommend that surfers and swimmers exercise caution and avoid prime hunting waters.
[H/T: National Geographic]