‘Pure shock.’ Photographer catches moment a surfer spots a shark off Cape Cod

Photographer Joe Mault thought he’d snap a few photos of waves coming ashore early Friday morning on Nauset Beach in Cape Cod, The Boston Globe reports.

As Mault set up his camera about 7 a.m., surfer Devon Zimmerman of Brooklyn had been on the water off the beach near Orleans, Massachusetts, for a few minutes, WCVB reported.

Mault got ready to take a photo of Zimmerman catching a wave, The Boston Globe reported. That’s when a shark surfaced behind Zimmerman in a moment captured on Mault’s camera.

“All of a sudden I saw the wake and then the fin, and it was pretty evident thereafter that it was a shark,” said Mault, owner of Orleans Camera, according to the publication. “It was within feet of him. It was a pretty scary thing.”

The photo shows Zimmerman looking back in surprise.

“It was pure shock and you see literally the moment when I recognize what it is and my only response is to lift my feet out of the water and drop my jaw,” he said, WCVB reported.

Zimmerman swiftly paddled back to the beach, taking care not to “splash too much,” according to the station.

The Orleans Department of Public Works and Natural Resources posted Mault’s photo to Facebook as a warning to beachgoers.

“Please remain vigilant,” officials wrote, calling it “a reminder to all beachgoers, as we continue into peak season for white shark activity.”

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.