Have you ever been bumped by something in the water? A little foot knock, maybe something dusts up against your hand while you’re paddling? “Kelp,” you tell yourself. “A rock. Maybe a curious fish?” Well, we hate to tell you this, but it could have been a shark. It’s not at all likely, but if you’re in the water — unless you live somewhere sharks don’t, of course — it could have been. Such was the case for one unsuspecting surfer in Southern California recently, when a group of great white sharks were hanging near a few surfers.
“On a few occasions the sharks approached the surfers closely,” wrote Carlos Gauna, known as The Malibu Artist on YouTube and the man responsible for the footage you see above. “The surfers don’t appear to know they aren’t alone in the water.”
Not knowing you’re near a shark probably isn’t all that unusual. They live in the ocean, after all, and we just play there, so it’s to be expected. And in reality, the chances of a shark attack are extraordinarily low. But still, the damage a shark can do just with a curious test bite is a scary thing, so far be it from us to judge anyone for being afraid. But if you are, you ought to be open to changing your mind about them, like Gauna did.
“As I film these encounters,” he said, “I’m quickly realizing that perhaps shark attacks are even rare than I first thought. They certainly don’t appear to be the mindless, always-hungry fish that I once thought they were. But more importantly, perhaps these interactions underscore why attacks may occur in the first place. Most shark attacks are the result of mistaken identity in less-than-ideal lighting conditions.”
See more from Gauna on YouTube.
Learn more about sharks in Ocean Ramsey’s Guide to Sharks and Safety.