A photographer in California was stunned to discover that he filmed a great white shark leaping into the air just a few feet behind a surfer while reviewing footage he captured in the week before Christmas.
Tom Kampas filmed the clip at El Porto Beach, just about a mile north of Manhattan Beach, on Dec. 21, according to ABC News. Kampas said that he didn’t notice the shark while filming, only discovering it when he watched the footage later at home.
In the video, a small shark can be seen jumping from a wave, spinning in the air behind a surfer who is seemingly unaware of the animal’s acrobatics.
“All of a sudden that great white came up from out of the water behind the surfer like a Polaris missile,” he recalled. “It all happened so quick and I don’t think that guy was even aware of it.”
— KTLA (@KTLA) December 30, 2014
The footage was shared with the Shark Research Institute, which confirmed that, while small and likely a juvenile, the shark pictured in the video is indeed a great white. As KTLA reports, there have been several white shark sightings off South Bay beaches over the last month.
Surfer survives great white shark attack off the coast of California: http://t.co/dNQtgjPenV pic.twitter.com/hVqQbBgWDE
— World News Tonight (@WNTonight) December 30, 2014
Earlier this week, a 50-year-old surfer survived an attack by a juvenile white shark off Sand Spit Beach in Montana De Oro State Park, near San Luis Obispo. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the surfer was struck from below by the great white, sustaining injuries that were not considered life threatening. He was able to bring himself back to shore under his own power.
— Stuff.co.nz News (@NZStuff) December 29, 2014
Though white sharks are common off the California coast, attacks, particularly fatal ones, are rare. Several reports surfaced over the summer of kayakers that were bumped or struck by white sharks, though few injuries were reported.
In Australia, a pair of fatal shark attacks have been reported in as many weeks, claiming the lives of two teen spear fishermen in separate incidents. Daniel Smith, 18, was killed in mid-December while at Rudder Reef, dying before he could be transported to shore, two hours away by boat. This week, 17-year-old Jay Muscat was fatally bitten by a great white before his dive partner drove the shark away with a speargun.
[Image: Tom Kampas via Facebook/KTLA]