hammerhead

Hammerhead shark rides wave. Photo: © Kim Gore

Surfers in Newport Beach, California, might be interested to learn that beneath some of those waves they're riding are hammerhead sharks looking for a meal.

The unusual image accompanying this post was captured Sunday morning by Kim Gore, who was jogging with Diane Breech Calderón and two others when they spotted a dark image beneath the lip of a green wave, just yards from shore.

Calderón posted the photo to Facebook with the introduction, "Morning Soft Sand Running Adventure….. Waves are back with force and bringing guests."

Asked to confirm whether this was, in fact, a hammerhead shark, Cal State Long Beach shark expert Chris Lowe provided the following observation to GrindTV:

"The dorsal and caudal fin look more hammerhead-like. The anterior part of the shark is kind of lost in the wave break, but almost looks like the hammer-shaped head. That behavior is not unheard of for smooth hammerheads. Probably in scarfing up round stingrays!"

Hammerhead sharks, rare visitors to Southern California during most years, have been lured north of their typical range by unusually warm water. (Many are crediting a powerful El Niño in the equatorial Pacific.)

Most sightings have been offshore, by fishermen, but there have been instances where the sharks have followed boats or kayaks toward shore.

Two weeks ago, lifeguards in Newport Beach ordered surfers and swimmers out of the water after a hammerhead shark was spotted from the Newport Beach Pier.

Said Calderón, "A friend also saw a shark by Newport Pier over the weekend. She had a mask and was swimming out by the pier and spotted a hammerhead and baby sharks."

Hammerhead sharks are not notorious for attacks on humans, but because they’re opportunistic and can grow to large sizes, they should be treated with respect and caution.

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