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Surfer captures video of breaching shark off Sunset Beach

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Dew Palumbo and a friend were enjoying a mid-day surf session in Orange County on Monday when they got an unexpected thrill: a shark propelled itself out of the water just beyond the breakers and came down with a splash.

The topic was trending on social media this week.

Breaching sharks evoke images of massive great white sharks leaping out of the water to chomp on prey in areas like South Africa and Australia, the Orange County Register noted in a story about the incident, but that wasn’t the case with this young shark spotted off Orange County’s coastline, said Chris Lowe, director of the Shark Lab at California State University, Long Beach.

“We know that the young ones do it quite a bit,’ Lowe told the newspaper that covers the area where the shark breached. People see it quite often in Santa Monica, and they’ve seen it at Seal Beach. Adults do it, but the adults do it for a different reason. They are chasing prey.”

Palumbo noted it was a “once in a lifetime sight ... hopefully.”