SUNSET BEACH ( Two friends were enjoying a midday surf session in Huntington Beach 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.

Drew Palumbo and Ben Slayback were filming their session with a GoPro, which captured the shark believed to be a great white taking flight. 

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“Both of us knew what we were seeing,” Palumbo said.

Great white sharks are seen frequently in the Sunset Beach area. Lifeguards reported a sighting as recently as Sunday. But capturing video of one leaping above the water’s surface is rare.

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Chris Lowe of the CSULB Shark Lab said the shark is likely a juvenile that has stayed in the area due to atypically warm water from El Nino.

Polumbo said the thrilling encounter was enough to persuade him and Slaybeck to switch surf spots for the rest of the day.

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“Seeing them in this kind of manner … That was enough for us to say, ‘Maybe we’ll go somewhere else for the rest of the day,'” he said.