Searching for Great White Sharks

Searching for Great White Sharks

Nov 01
Searching for Great White Sharks

Searching for Great White Sharks

Text & Photos:  Brent Durand

In mid-October a video surfaced on social media showing great white sharks swimming in the same nearshore water as surfers in Manhattan Beach, California. Throughout the day Thursday the buzz was building and by Friday at work I heard reports that the sharks were still there. I got the OK to head to the beach Friday at noon and was on the sand by 1pm with kayak and Aquatica camera housing.

By now I knew that the sharks were confirmed to be juvenile great white sharks, which feed on fish until they start hunting larger mammals as adults. I paddled out and scanned the shallows for shadows of sharks, soon taking to balancing precariously on my knees in order to get as much height as possible. I ended the afternoon with 5 sightings, or about one every 45 minutes. I also learned a few things about these magnificent fish:

1) The juvenile great whites had zero interest in me. Even as I found and paddled next to them they continued their slow swimming. I may have encountered the same shark more than once, but definitely saw a couple different individuals.

2) It’s really hard to shoot and paddle at the same time. Every time I would spot a shark, get alongside it and then grab my housing to put in the water (quietly) the shark would already be swimming away. I’d then lose them quickly in the afternoon glare.

Even with these challenges, each experience was electrifying and peaceful at the same time. One thing is for certain: I’ll be out there next time the conditions are right to hang out with great white sharks.

– Brent Durand

Juvenile Great White

Even when putting in the time it’s very difficult to capture a good image.



Ready to head into the water.