See a Great White Shark Breach by Surfers in San Diego, and No One Flinches

Written by Katie Melynn
Published: October 24, 2022
© Sergey Uryadnikov/
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Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

Some beachgoers may be used to seeing wildlife and sea creatures. But when a shark breaches the water, it’s something to notice!

These surfers at Lower Trestles in San Onofre State Beach, San Diego, play it cool even when this Great White Shark comes over. Lowers is a popular surfing location. Sharks are not unusual in the water off the San Diego coast. Chances are that at least a few of these surfers had seen a Great White before.

Why Do Sharks Breach?

Great White Sharks are known for their breaching behavior. They do this to catch prey, such as seals, who can move fast. Sharks must move even faster to get their dinner. When breaching, they swim directly toward the surface at a high rate of speed. The Smithsonian says that Great Whites can swim up to 40 miles per hour when breaching. All of that requires a lot of energy, however, so it is only something that they do when they need to hunt.

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Think You Can?

Great Whites can get up to 10 feet out of the water when breaching. These amazing feats are sometimes caught on camera when researchers set up decoys to attract and study Great White Sharks. In this video, the footage was from a shore-based surf camera.

Even with the distance, you can clearly see the shark breaching in the water. Its body is white and sticks out from the surrounding blue of the ocean. It is further out than the surfers. Everyone stays calm and the shark disappears back below the water. Maybe they didn’t notice the shark or maybe they are counting on the shark heading back out to deeper water.

great white shark
The Smithsonian says that Great Whites can swim up to 40 miles per hour when breaching.

©Ramon Carretero/

Are Sharks Common in California?

Great White Sharks are a common enough sight in California. While it doesn’t hold the record for the state with the most shark attacks (that distinction belongs to Florida), because of the popularity of water sports and beaches, there are still plenty of interactions between people and sharks in California.

Sharks do not generally attack people for sport. Contrary to how they are portrayed in movies like Jaws, Great Whites are not unusually aggressive and do not hunt people if they do not feel threatened. They can mistake people, especially those at the surface, such as surfers, for potential food.

What would you do if you saw a Great White Shark breach nearby? Would you play it cool like these surfers or hightail it out of the water?

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great white shark
These sharks have torpedo-shaped bodies that are sleek and powerful, able to accelerate from a low cruising speed to a sudden flurry of activity.
© Sergey Uryadnikov/

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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie is a Teaching Artist with The APEX Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland and was awarded an Author Fellowship to Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. She also enjoys spending time with her three kids and cat.

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