See a Great White Shark Sneak Up on a Surfer and Land an Epic Photobomb

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Written by Kirstin Harrington

Updated: November 10, 2023

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Great White Shark Near Surfer
© iStock.com/bbevren

Key Points:

  • During the 2022 San Onofre Surf Club contest, an uninvited guest makes an appearance. 
  • A shark was seen by photographer Jordan Anast throwing its body out of the ocean.
  • When breaching, great white sharks can rise up to 10 feet above the surface.

There are surfing contests held all over the world every year where skilled surfers hope for incredible swells to show off their impressive skills. During the beloved San Onofre Surf Club contest of 2022, an uninvited guest makes an appearance. Behind a surfer, a shark was seen by photographer Jordan Anast throwing its body out of the ocean.

The yearly San Onofre Surf Club event outside San Diego was being photographed that weekend by Anast, who typically photographs surf events on the weekends.

It’s not entirely uncommon for sharks to leap out of the water. When these large beasts toss their entire body out of the water it’s called breaching.

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The first picture in his photo collection shows surfer Tyler Warren riding on his surfboard and surfing a wave into shore. There is a bright blue sky behind him. The sky in the following photo is partially blocked by a huge fish that is photobombing it. Little did they know it was a hungry shark! The shark’s gloomy grey body and fins sparkle beneath the strong California sun as it stands totally out of the water with its nose pointing to the sky. 

Warren doesn’t appear to be cognizant of the shark’s ascent into the air behind him the entire time. As Warren approaches the shore, the series of photographs continues to show the shark reentering the ocean like an old-school flip book. 

Why Do Sharks Breach?

great white shark leaping out of water

Great white sharks

can be found throughout all the oceans of the world.

©Alexyz3d/Shutterstock.com

White sharks’ breaching actions are well-known. They do this to capture swiftly moving prey like seals. Sharks have to move considerably more quickly to catch their prey. They swim swiftly and straight toward the surface when breaching. According to the Smithsonian, Great Whites may breach at up to 40 miles per hour when swimming. 

Great white sharks and people both have distinctive characteristics with various qualities and flaws as well as various views, habits, and interests. When hunting seals, certain great white sharks may be particularly skilled at airborne ambush breaches while other sharks may not be.

Jumping Great White Shark.

Great whites will often breach to ambush fast-moving prey such as seals.

©USO/Shutterstock.com

Nevertheless, all of that requires a significant amount of energy, therefore they only engage in it when they have to go hunting. When breaching, great white sharks can rise up to 10 feet above the surface. 

When scientists set up decoys to lure and observe great white sharks, these remarkable feats are occasionally captured on camera. In California, it’s not uncommon to see great white sharks

They might employ various strategies, such as under ambush hunting or making the most of low light and poor sight to trap seals more effectively. Researchers are only beginning to scratch the surface when it comes to great white shark hunting habits, but what we do know is that each subpopulation of great white sharks has its own distinctive hunting strategies and social norms.

How Large Do Great White Sharks Get?

shark

The biggest great white sharks can exceed lengths of 20 feet.

©Jsegalexplore/Shutterstock.com

Great white sharks are known to grow to be an average length of about 20 feet long! The largest great white sharks can exceed lengths of past 20 feet, though the majority are of smaller size. On average, females measure between 15 and 16 feet in length, whereas males typically range from 11 to 13 feet.

Sightings of sharks reaching lengths of more than 30 feet have been thought to be an exaggeration and sharks can’t grow larger than 21 feet. Deep Blue was the largest great white shark ever found. She weighed two-and-half tons and was longer than 20 feet.

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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