Despite having just one calendar day left before Fall, folks in warmer seaside climates may be thinking about getting in one last swim before the temperatures finally start to drop… and those people should probably just skim right ahead and ignore this article completely. Then again, if you prefer to err on the side of caution… what we’re about to tell you just might save your life.
It’s been a peculiar month for swimmers, divers and surfers, at least as far as sharks are concerned — and Great Whites in particular. A surprising increase in the frequency of human-shark encounters off the California coast has been making news, and a couple of recently-uploaded videos have thousands of people refusing to come anywhere near the ocean.
The first one comes courtesy of Surfline, whose Cam Rewind video shows a particularly energetic Great White off Ocean Beach, CA last Tuesday morning. Take a look at the image above: that silver rocket launching out of the water is a breaching eight-foot Great White. That alone is worth mentioning… but it becomes a lot scarier when you realize the dark figures in the foreground are a lineup of surfers preparing to catch the next wave.
“I saw it straight on,” surfer Nick Masturzo told Surfline, “and when I saw that white belly go up, and the super-defined white of pectoral fins, I knew what it was.” Masturzo is also either fearless, insane or totally dedicated (maybe a little of each?), because he opted to stay in the water… even after nearly 30 of his fellow surfers stayed ashore.
While definitely creepy, that encounter was thankfully uneventful… but not so for a confrontation earlier this month between a Great White and 22-year-old Tyler McQuillen, who was spearfishing off the coast of Santa Barbara, CA with a GoPro cam mounted on his speargun. McQuillen thought at first that one of his friends was playing tricks on him when he felt something tug at his foot… until he suddenly saw blood in the water around him.
“I wasn’t sure where it was from,” McQuillen said, “so I swam as fast as I could back to shore.”
While he was making his escape, the camera caught a brief glimpse of the shark as it circled around in front to attack again. Fortunately, McQuillen was able to scare it away by poking at it with the speargun, and made it to shore with only a couple of broken toes.
“Extremely lucky to get out of this one alive,” he commented on YouTube, along with unedited GoPro footage of the attack (which begins at around 1:25 on this clip from Storyful News, with the shark coming into plain view at 1:43).