22-year-old Santa Barbara native Tyler McQuillen got into a melee with a Great White Shark off the coast of Southern California. Luckily for Tyler, he was able to escape.
Luckily for us, McQuillen recorded the whole showdown on his GoPro so we can get an up close look at the interaction.
McQuillen, who had been spearfishing, told ABC News he thought the whole thing was a prank:
“I thought it was my friend playing a joke”
It was not a joke.
The video shows McQuillen briefly fending off an initial blow by the shark. It knocks his flipper off and momentarily disorients the college student.
But McQuillen is able to regain his composure and fend off the shark with his spear and a couple well-timed kicks.
Even though he successfully defends himself, McQuillen admits that he thought he might be in trouble when the shark came back:
“The second time he came around, I thought I was finished.”
The real payoff is at the end of the video when McQuillen emerges from the water and exclaims “fucking gnarly.”
As it turns out, McQuillen probably shouldn’t have been in that area in the first place and the shark was more likely defending its turf than trying to eat him.
Chris Plante, assistant curator at the Aquarium of the Pacific, told ABC:
“the best way to avoid any shark encounter is to stay out of their area… this individual was in that area”
So, while it’s great that McQuillen was able to survive this encounter, he was putting himself directly at risk by being in the shark’s habitat.
Be safe out there, guys, there’s no reason to put yourself in direct danger. But if you happen to be stupid enough to do that, I guess you’ll want to react like McQuillen.