A Southern California photographer has captured aerial footage showing hydrofoil surfers riding just yards from great white sharks, oblivious to the apex predators' presence.
At one point a surfer can be seen riding directly over a shark, causing it to flinch and turn. In another instance, a surfer falls and the shark swims briefly in his direction.
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Matt Larmand captured the footage Wednesday afternoon off Capistrano State Beach in Dana Point, in southern Orange County. He told For The Win Outdoors that he saw 4-5 sharks in his drone-cam viewfinder during a film session between noon and 5 p.m.
The foil surfers were beyond the surf zone. One appeared to be riding a motorized board, while the other was being towed behind a personal watercraft.
"From what I could see the guys in the water had no idea that there were sharks in the water, let alone close to them," Larmand said. "At least until the [end] of the video where the driver of the jet ski finally sees it and points it out."
The green water over a sandy bottom at Capistrano State Beach, or Capo Beach, has attracted juvenile great white sharks in past summers, but rarely such large groups.
Juvenile white sharks feed largely on rays and other bottom fishes, and while they may not present a substantial threat to swimmers and surfers, there's always a risk factor when they're present.
Larmand said he saw sharks as close as 15 yards from the beach, and as far as a quarter-mile out.
News of their presence is spreading. Donna Kalez, general manager at Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching, said she's considering adding shark tours to her schedule.
"I get asked about that about three times a day," she said.
Chris Lowe, who runs the Shark Lab at Cal State University at Long Beach, said he's planning to tag juvenile white sharks in the area in the coming weeks.
Larmand said the sharks he saw were 6 to 9 feet long.
White sharks begin to prey-switch to seals and sea lions when they measure about 12 feet. Adult white sharks can measure to about 20 feet and weigh more than 4,000 pounds.
-Video and images courtesy of Matt Larmand Photography