Gauna filmed two nerve-racking encounters on April 18 off this same beach in Santa Barbara County. First a 7-foot shark approached two young children floating just feet from the sand on bodyboards. He raced to them and motioned for them to come in. The shark turned away. Ten minutes later he watched a larger one approach a surfer sitting on a 9-foot-2 longboard. The shark was as big as the board. The drone hovered directly above. But Guana was over a half-mile away and could not warn him. The audio recording on his monitor captured his mounting anxiety.
“He’s turning toward the surfer,” Gauna said. “This surfer needs to look down, he has a shark right next to him. You got a shark right next to you, dude.”
Gauna has been trying to find a drone that could give an alert, but hasn’t found one compatible with the film equipment he uses.
The shark turned into the surfer under the nose of the board, as if it were going to start circling.
“Oh, my God, don’t bite him, don’t bite him, don’t bite him.”
That size of a shark is sub-adult, and usually just starting to upgrade their diet from stingrays and fish to harbor seals and other marine mammals. It could make a mistake. Just last year on this beach, a female swimmer was bitten on her foot and suffered two one-inch lacerations.
The shark slowly did a U-turn under the surfer and then kept swimming out to sea. The surfer never saw a thing.