Two surfers had a very close encounter with a great white shark while they were out on the waves off the coast of Massachusetts.
Cousins Ray Trautz and Pete Emond had been out on paddleboards on November 4 at Coast Guard Beach when the “aggressive and agitated” shark approached them, Trautz said in a Facebook post relating the incident.
Emond was sitting on his board, while Trautz was standing on his, just before the near-attack occurred.
Trautz glanced over his shoulder and saw the 10-foot great white swimming towards them, “on track right at Pete’s legs.”
Trautz yelled “shaaarrrrk” at his cousin, who had been completely unaware that it was headed straight towards him.
Trautz used a paddle to hit the shark’s back when it turned on him, thrashing its head and tail and nearly hitting Emond in the face.
“I was yelling for Pete to go and get to shore as the shark circled behind me very aggressive and agitated. As the shark circled, I circled and kept him from being behind me,” Trautz wrote on Facebook.
A wave knocked Trautz from his board, luckily carrying him closer to shore, and the cousins both made it back to the beach unharmed.
“We both escaped unharmed and a little shaken. I’ve seen a hundred white sharks while surfing but this takes the top of all my shark interactions. In closing I will add that had I not been on a SUP (stand-up paddleboard) this event would have played out very differently,” Trautz said. “Neither of us panicked and we reacted perfectly.”
Cape Cod is known as a great white shark habitat, particularly in the warmer months. They are mostly spotted in the area between May and November.
Although great whites do not typically hunt humans, they are huge creatures and have long rows of incredibly sharp teeth, so any form of interaction can end in tragedy.
Occasionally, paddleboarders and surfers make sounds in the water that resemble those made by sharks’ preferred prey and lead to close encounters that are sometimes deadly.
“Yesterday two surfers had a close call with a white shark off Coast Guard Beach. Thankfully, they weren’t physically harmed, but this is an important reminder to stay vigilant. It is still white shark season and some will remain into the winter months,” MA Sharks—an account run by biologist and shark expert John Chisholm—posted on X, formerly Twitter..
Chisholm warned surfers and other people in the sea to be “shark smart” when they go out.
“There are no lifeguards [at] this time of year and very few people on the beach in general, so help may not be nearby. You need to be prepared,” he wrote.
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This article by Robyn White was first published by Newsweek on 6 November 2023. Lead Image: A stock photo of a great white shark. Two surfers were nearly attacked by a 10-foot great white off the coast of Cape Cod. ALESSANDRO DE MADDALENA/GETTY.