A shark believed to be a juvenile Great White, photographed by Gus McConnell Tuesday morning at 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 surfer watches a shark pass between herself and photographer Gus McConnell.
“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.
Photographer Gus McConnell described the shark as appearing docile.
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 shark passes within a arms length of photographer Gus McConnell
“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.