While surfing at Mavericks, most worry about the mountainous waves, but that’s not the only danger lurking in the water. Last Sunday, local surfer Drake Stanley noticed something troubling beneath his jet ski: A large great white shark.
According to SF Gate, he was hanging out in the water to provide assistance with his rescue jet ski to any of the surfers. He noticed something in the water while watching the surf, and at first glance mistook it for a whale. Instead the great white—which he believed to be 16 to 18 feet long—swam over and sized Stanley up. Its beady black eyes locked on Stanley as it approached the jet ski. The female shark was so close that he could clearly see the scars and cuts all throughout its body.
But then, unexpectedly, the shark shifted its attention to a nearby surfer and beelined towards him. Stanley jumped into rescue mode and created a barrier with his jet ski between the shark and unsuspecting surfer. The Jet ski’s engine was able to spook the giant fish away and it scurried away deep into the ocean.
After the close call, nobody wanted to keep surfing. Stanley kindly towed eight surfers back to shore so that they didn’t have to paddle 30 minutes to get out of the water. While he was certainly spooked by the incident, he’s not deterred from future surfing endeavors. Just like surfing a massive 50-foot wave has inherent risks, encountering sharks are all part of being in the ocean.