California

‘Is it a great white?’ Huge shark cruises by kayaking brothers near Cambria

Peter May and his brother were kayaking in the waters off Cambria on Monday, wrapping up a fishing trip, when they encountered something great.

A great white shark, that is.

“We had been fishing for about two hours and we were debating whether or not we should paddle back in,” May told The Tribune via phone Tuesday, adding that they were about a mile offshore in the Marine Terrace area. “I saw something come up and thought it was a big fish or a sea bass, and then I realized it was a shark.”

In May’s video of the encounter, a shark swims up close to the camera before heading in the direction of May’s brother, Andrew “Mamba” May.

“Dude, it’s f----ing right here,” Peter May can be heard telling his brother.

“Is that a great white?” his brother asks. “I think so,” May replies.

“I started kind of freaking out,” said May, recalling an article he’d read that morning about a shark biting a kayak in Cambria in 2012. “I scrambled to grab my phone and my hands were shaking.”

The shark circled his kayak for a few minutes before swimming over to his brother’s kayak, which it circled for about five more minutes, May said.

May said he started paddling toward his brother’s kayak when the shark swam away.

A San Luis Obispo native, May said he’s been surfing and kayaking in the area for much of his life. Although he said he’s never seen a great white shark up close before, he’s certain he encountered one on Monday.

“I could tell (the species) by the size and the underbelly,” said May, who estimated that the shark they spotted was about 10 to 12 feet in length.

“It was out there but it didn’t try and cause us any harm. I’m humbled by it, and it makes me respect sharks more,” May said. “I plan on surfing still, and kayaking still. It’s not something that’s scary.”

May’s encounter came after a weekend in which great white shark sightings were reported in Morro Bay.

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Gabby Ferreira is a breaking news and general assignment reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. A native of Houston, Texas, she was a reporter in Tucson, Arizona; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Palm Springs, California, before moving to San Luis Obispo County in 2016.
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