Great white shark appears in wave over surfer’s shoulder

More than a week before a shark attacked a swimmer recently at San Onofre State Park in Southern California, a surfer encountered a juvenile great white shark in the same general area, forcing him to paddle to shore.

David Woodward, who was surfing alone off the Bluffs Campground in San Clemente, was out on his longboard testing his GoPro for the first time when he captured footage of the great white shark swimming in the wave behind him:

Woodward posted the video on YouTube a few of weeks ago, but it only first gained attention online Sunday when UPI posted about the encounter followed by Yahoo7 in Australia.

Woodward subsequently prevented his video from being embedded, thus hindering its chance of going viral, at least temporarily. He told GrindTV he was worried about others sensationalizing the event, but he has since allowed it to be embedded. The Times-Picayune was the first to pick up on it Wednesday.

In the video, Woodward said a great white shark suddenly appeared in a wave and was swimming about 10 feet away from left to right in front of him.

“It was the fifth juvenile great white I’ve seen in the water in the last two years there, so I wasn’t too concerned,” Woodward said. “Until he turned abruptly in my direction. At that point, I spun my board to get out of there.”

You can see that reaction in the video.

RELATED: Great white shark approaches surfer waiting for a wave; video

“I didn’t see him again until I checked my GoPro footage,” he said.

“That’s the closest I’ve ever been to a shark in the water.”

Woodward expanded on his story in the comments, saying, “The juveniles aren’t typically a threat to us. This one seemed a bit more curious than most, which was a little disconcerting. But if he had meant me harm, he had ample opportunity. Instead, he went about his merry way.”

Shark sightings have become common at San Onofre State Beach over the past few weeks. A couple times last week, sharks were captured in Surfline’s Cam Rewind footage breaching near surfers at the popular Lower Trestles area.

And a swimmer was viciously attacked in the leg in the same area.

So Woodward seeing a shark swimming nearby shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

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