A California woman taking photos of whales off the coast of Pismo State Beach captured the moment a suspected great white shark made a flying leap into the air.
Calli Brooks said she was at the beach for her son’s junior lifeguard camp and was taking pictures of a nearby whale when the shark soared into her shot.
The photo shows the shark leaping several feet into the air over the water.
Chris Lowe, the director of California State University Long Beach’s shark lab, said the photographed fish appears to be a great white shark.
“It could be a mako, but it looks like a white shark based on its proportions and the shape of its fins,” Lowe told KSBY-TV.
Lowe said experts are not sure why sharks breach the way they do.
“I personally think they’re doing it to dislodge parasites,” Lowe said. “So they have parasites on their backs and they move around and when they do that, it’s itchy.
“By jumping up in the water column and landing on their backs, they might be able to knock some of the parasites off.”
A woman filming surfers at a Hawaii beach captured footage of a similar spectacle in July when a shark jumped out of the water in front of a surfer.
Jan Yamasaki said she was filming surfers at Honolulu’s Magic Island peninsula when the shark suddenly breached in front of a surfer. Experts said the shark in the video could be a spinner shark, blacktip shark or sandbar shark.