Great white shark breaches behind surfer riding wave in amazing photo

A great white shark breaches behind Daniel Caban in photo shared with the media in hopes of triggering debate against culling.

A great white shark breaches behind Daniel Caban in photo shared with the media in hopes of triggering debate against shark culling. Photo: Courtesy of Nathan McClaren

A massive great white shark leaped out of the water in the exact location two surfers had been sitting just moments before each caught a wave, unknowingly escaping a potential confrontation with the apex predator.

On shore, Nathan McClaren was photographing his surfing friend, Daniel Caban, and captured an amazing photo of the breaching great white shark behind the wave Caban was riding Tuesday afternoon at Caves Beach in New South Wales, Australia.

“I was taking a sequence of shots of him [Caban] surfing a wave and all of a sudden this shark just came right out of the water,” McClaren told The Daily Telegraph via The New Daily.

“Everyone was in a bit of shock, saying, ‘Did that really just happen?’ But I went back through the photos and there it was. It jumped out of the water about a meter and I would say it would have been at least 3.5-meters [11-feet] long.”

People on shore who had seen the jumping shark started yelling and waving for the two surfers to come in. McClaren told 9 News he started honking his car horn and took off his red flannel shirt, attached it to the end of a crutch and waved it to get his friend’s attention.

The two surfers were oblivious to the shark’s presence.

“A big set came through; [the other surfer] got the first one and I got the second one, but neither of us had any idea what happened,” Caban told The Daily Telegraph. “We were probably about 50 meters [55 yards] offshore and the shark came out of the water right where we would have been sitting if we hadn’t got our waves.

“I’ve never seen a shark in the water before. Everyone else around here has their shark stories, but I’d never seen one. I guess I still haven’t, but I’ve definitely got a story now,” Caban said.

Marine biologist told 7 News it was unusual to see a breaching great white shark in this area.

Marine biologist told 7 News it was unusual to see a breaching great white shark in this area. Photo: Courtesy of Nathan McClaren

Earlier in the day, people on shore had seen a shark breaching close by, a surprising behavior in that particular area and worth investigating a bit more, marine biologist Amy McLukie of the SeaLife Aquarium told 7 News.

McClaren told 7 News his photo “was a bit of a jaw drop” and “obviously one-in-a-million photo.” But he and Caban had hoped it would trigger a debate over the culling of sharks.

“It’s the ocean, it’s full of sharks,” Caban told 7 News. “You know basically if you went camping and you’ve seen a snake, you’re still going to go camping.”

“It’s a risk you take,” McClaren added. “It’s their home. I think shark culling is an absolute disgrace to be honest.”

While both say they will surf again, Caban isn’t eager to jump right back on that horse just yet.

“Give me a couple of days and I might go back out, but right now I’m just a bit rattled,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

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