Shark fin slices through water in front of surfer

A big-wave surfer was enjoying sets of waves in excess of 15 feet off the popular Northern California surfing locale of Ocean Beach last week when he had a surprise encounter with what one expert believed was a great white shark.

Ignacio Salazar was sitting on his board waiting for a wave with his mouth-mounted GoPro rolling when a shark fin sliced through the water in front of him. He posted video in which you can not only see the fin but hear its effects:

“My reaction for some reason was to observe and be calm,” Salazar told Pete Thomas Outdoors. “I guess I learned that skill from big-wave surfing. So at the same time, I thought there was no reason to panic or scream, as there was no one around.”

Keith Poe, a shark tagger who is a Southern California shark expert, told Pete Thomas Outdoors it looked like a fin from a great white shark.

“I’m not sure about it,” Salazar told Pete Thomas Outdoors. “People say it’s [a great white shark], but as I said I’m very amateur with knowledge of shark fins.”

One commenter on Facebook remarked about never having seen a white shark in 30 years surfing off Ocean Beach. But they are certainly there.

In September 2016, Surfline’s Cam Rewind caught the moment a great white shark leaped out of the water just beyond the line of surfers.

From Surfline:

There’s never been a documented shark attack at Ocean Beach; however, a surfer was reportedly bumped in 2005. “I’ve been surfing here 30 years and never seen anything like that,” he said. “Lots of dolphins, seals…we know they’re there but don’t want to believe it. Like, ‘It’s sandy, there’s no kelp, no giant sea lions, it’s great here.’”…

Typically, Great White Sharks will breach the water during a sneak attack on prey, coming from deep below and shooting straight up to chomp an unsuspecting seal – hence the high-def, super slo-mo footage seen on Shark Week. But it’s unclear what the shark at Ocean Beach was after, if anything. As [surfer Nick] Masturzo mentioned, the area is rife with sea life for sharks to feed on.

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