Surf photographer McConnell captures Great White swimming off 44th Street in Manhattan Beach
After hearing reports from fellow surfers of a Great White in the water in front of his Manhattan Beach home, photographer Gus McConnell went shark hunting Tuesday morning.
It didn’t take him long to verify the reports.
“A neighbor was about to go surfing at 44th Street yesterday when some guys coming out of the water said there was a shark swimming around. She didn’t go out. A few other friends had mentioned sightings, so I figured they were hanging around,” McConnell said.
McConnell paddled out on a prone paddleboard with a mask, snorkel and Pentax water camera.
After not seeing sharks at 44th Street, he paddled south, seven blocks to Rosecrans Avenue. There he saw a solid six-foot shark and took several photos of it. But the photos weren’t clear because the water visibility was not good and he quickly lost sight of the shark.
“So, I paddled back to 44th Street and got lucky. A five- to six-foot shark was circling the surfers, not more than 25 yards from shore. Unless the one at Rosecrans followed me, I think this was a different one,” McConnell said.
McConnell paddled after the shark with his left arm while holding his Pentax under water and shooting with his right arm.
“The surfers were looking at me like I was crazy, but the shark was acting docile. If I reached down I could have grabbed his tail fin, but I didn’t want to push my luck.”
McConnell said that based on the shark’s white belly, girth, and length — which he estimated to be that of an adult human — he believes the shark was a juvenile great white, though whites and makos are difficult to distinguish when they are young. Sharks generally eat fish and not mammals until they reach the nine- to ten-foot range.