A group of mothers surfing at Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales north coast had the shock of their lives on the weekend when a large shark leapt from the water about 30m from shore, right next to where they were competing.
The moment was captured in an extraordinary smartphone photo by Steph Bellamy as mums from the Coffs Harbour Boardriders Club were competing off Macauleys Headland in the club’s final meet for the year.
Bellamy, whose son surfs, was supposed to join the other mums, but declined and then had the last laugh. She was watching her girlfriends when she saw a splash, grabbed her Samsung Galaxy S5 phone and managed to capture the second jump, but even then she didn’t realise what it was.
“I stop up and took a shot, saw another splash and wondered if I’d got it,” Bellamy said.
When she checked the image, she raised the alarm – although those in the water were already all too well aware of what they’d just witnessed.
“Then I heard the judges say, ‘Wow, what was that?’ and I expanded the shot out so I could have a look and it was as plain as day there was a major photobomb from a beautiful creature of our planet,” she told the ABC. “It was a shark, and quite a large one.”
Bellamy thinks it was chasing fish.
“Nobody freaked out. Everybody was cool about it, although we were a bit ‘Ohmigod!’,” she said.
“It’s their home and we’re playing in it,” she said.
Club officials watched for 10 minutes before the women got back in the water to compete, followed by the men.
The shark was estimated at 2-metres-long, and the Coffs Harbour Advocate reports that Department of Primary Industries experts believe it was most likely a spinner shark, which is not dangerous to humans.
The shark is so named because it twists through the air as it feeds on school fish.
It’s not the first time a spinner shark has been captured leaping from the water as surfers pass by, as this video footage from Florida shows.
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