A professional surf rescuer managed to scare off a very large great white shark near Half Moon Bay on Sunday just as it was approaching a group of surfers.
"It was definitely the biggest shark I’ve ever seen," Drake Stanley tells NBC Bay Area. He estimates it was 16 to 18 feet long, and a photo that Stanley shot before the shark swam off does indeed show an extremely enormous fish.
"I was sitting on my ski watching the surf when from the corner of my eye, I see something huge rising up from below," Stanley says, and he explains that as he saw the shark approaching a surfer, he zoomed up to it on his ski and the shark turned around and swam away. He then went about giving the surfers rides back to shore, one by one, just to be safe.
As Stanley narrates to SFGate, "As it came up, it rolled over on its side to look at me with its giant, dark eye. And I could see scars and cuts all down its body, like teeth scars. From all my 'Shark Week' watching expertise, I knew that it was a female." The detail there, per SFGate, is that females often end up with such scarring while mating, because the marine animal kingdom is brutal.
Stanley adds, "The trippiest thing about the whole encounter was the way it was looking at me. It looked into my eyes. We made eye contact."
The Mavericks surf competition looks to be not happening for the third year in a row, but that doesn't mean the surfing hasn't been good at the famous break.
Waves have been seen at the break near Pillar Point as high as 50 or 60 feet, though recent surf heights have reportedly been smaller than that, and today they're peaking at around 10 feet, according to Surfline.
Mavericks came close to happening on December 17 but got pushed back when a storm moved in and caused the waves to get too massive. There was talk of an impending contest again around March 11, but organizers shut that down as the swell started tapering off.
The last time the Mavericks competition happened was in February 2016, and since then organizers have announced there will be a women's heat for the very first time — though that's yet to be a reality because the competition hasn't happened yet.