Pacific Coast Shark News 2013
The following reports for 2012 are provided as a public service. They are intended to inform our visitors of current shark activities along the Pacific Coast of North America. To review Pacific Coast Shark News for 2003 click here, for 2004 click here, for 2005 click here, for 2006 news click here, for 2007 click here, for 2008 click here, for 2009 news click here, for 2010 news click here, for 2011 news click here and for 2012 news click here.
Santa Cruz On June 6, 2013 ‘Shark Warning' signs appeared at several beaches in the Santa Cruz/Capitola area. California Parks and Recreation Rangers said the warning signs are ‘fake.' An unidentified Park Ranger said,“It wasn't clear who posted the signs or why. The bottom of the notice gave a possible clue. It told surfers to ‘surf Cowells instead.' Cowells is on Santa Cruz's west side; Pleasure Point, where the signs were posted, is on the east side. Apparently in the surfing world, those two surf spots have a long time rivalry. It could also have been an attempt to get the some of the surfers to leave Pleasure Point and head to Cowell, but it didn't work as surfers breezed past the signs for the morning surf. The signs listed three Great White Shark attacks that allegedly happened at Capitola Beach, Privates Beach and Rockview Beach on Wednesday. Due to the highly aggressive nature of these encounters, it is strongly advised to stay out of the water for 48 hours, the poster read.” Police confirmed that there wasn't even a shark sighting Wednesday. The signs had a California seal in the upper left corner and were marked ‘Public Notice.' Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Huntington Beach On June 4, 2013 KTLA-TV in Los Angeles reported the following;“A group of fishermen may have broken a world record with a huge shark caught off the coast of Huntington Beach. A fisherman named Jason Johnston, from Mesquite, Texas, chartered a boat out of Huntington Beach on Monday. His group hooked a massive Shortfin Mako Shark, Isurus oxyrinchus, about 15 miles offshore. The shark was 13 feet long, 8 feet in girth and weighed 1,325 pounds. It took more than two hours and a quarter-mile of line to reel in the shark, according to Johnston. ‘It's unreal. This thing is definitely a killing machine,' Johnston said.‘Any wrong step and I could have went out of the boat and to the bottom of the ocean,' he said. It was expected to be donated to a research organization for study. As they waited for news on their possible world record, the fishermen planned to head out again on Tuesday for another adventure.” The shark was a female, 25 – 30 years of age based on its length. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Dana Point On May 25, 2013 Kirk Waterman was kayaking 100 – 150 yards from shore. Waterman reported; “I was kayaking from Dana Point to Laguna and had stopped to take pictures of the big swells hitting the rocks at Mussel Cove around 2:00 PM. Out of the corner of my eye I witnessed a dorsal fin, coming at me, it then submerged. It came directly beside me and my guess the shark was approximately 6 feet in length or larger. Do not know what type of shark it was but it was very dark.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Paradise Cove On May 23, 2013 Jay Gillespie was surfing at Paradise Cove Beach in Malibu. It was about 6:00 PM and he had been on the water
Palos Verdes On May 20, 2013 Jennifer Wessels, and an unidentified companion, were paddle boarding 1/3 of a mile from shore near Palos Verdes, between Terranea Resort and Pt. Vicente. It was 10:30 AM and she had been on the water about 2 hours. The sky was clear and there was a mild east breeze with an estimated air temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was smooth with a slight ripple and an estimated temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit. There were kelp beds present 400 – 500 yards from the encounter location. Wessels reported;“I was prone paddling from Cabrillo Beach towards Pt. Vicente lighthouse with a friend and encountered the shark just past Terranea Resort (Rancho Palos Verdes). I was knee paddling and my friend was prone, when I noticed the huge grey shark about 30 inches wide, very girthy, and what I estimated to be about 12 – 15 feet long. The shark swam non-aggressively toward me, about 3 feet below and 1 foot to the left of my board. It was light grey. I yelled, 'SHARK! Paddle fast!' and I paddled fast toward the kelp bed in Pelican Cove. We took a break there before paddling back to Cabrillo Beach hugging the coastline and kelp.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Pacific City, OR On May 18, 2013 Hayden Peters was surfing one mile South of Haystack Rock at the “Turn Around”, near Pacific City, Oregon. Mark Marks, White Shark Biologist, interviewed Peters who reported the following;“It was about 8:45 PM and I was 100 meters from shore. Water depth was 8 – 10 feet. I was sitting upright on my board when I observed a ‘boiling of the water's' surface and a large object pass below me. I leaned out to get a better look and saw a White Shark, 10 – 12 feet in length, approaching me. It maneuvered by rolling to one side to get a better look at me, I'm sure. The shark then dove and was not seen again as I headed in to the beach.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Sunset Cliffs On May 18, 2013 Lance Rivas was spearfishing 1 – 1.5 miles from shore in the kelp beds near Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach, San Diego. It was 4:00 PM and he had been in the water about 3 hours. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 68 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The water was 40 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom with a kelp bed nearby. Water visibility was estimated at 20 feet. No marine mammals were observed in the area. He had speared two Sheephead's about 1.5 hours into the dive, placing them in his kayak. Rivas reported;“I was low and slow in the floor approximately 40 feet, I saw silhouette about 15 feet away. It swam up to me in a hurry. I immediately identified it as a shark and not the White Sea Bass I was hoping for, and began swimming calmly for the surface. It followed me about halfway up coming as close as 1 foot away from my spear-tip. The shark was bluish-grey with a somewhat blunt nose and was 6 – 7 feet in length. It checked me out and did not pursue me as I kicked for the surface. I did not observe any unusual behavior of marine fauna but I did note an absence of fish during my encounter.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Linda Mar Beach On May 17, 2013 Lindsey Collins was surfing the South end of Linda Mar Beach (AKA – Pacifica State Beach) in Pacifica. It was 3:30 PM and she had been on the water about 30 minutes. Air and water temperatures were estimated to be 59 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The water was 20 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom with very limited visibility. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Collins reported;“I was surfing approximately 100 – 150 yards toward the South end of Linda Mar Beach, near the rocky outcropping. I saw a 1.5 – 2 foot high, thin, black object protruding from the water. I turned to paddle in, looking over my shoulder as I did. I could still see the object. I stood on the beach for several minutes, but didn't see the object resurface. I'm not 100% it was a fin- at the time, I was trying to tell myself maybe it was a diver's snorkel, because it looked so thin from my angle. But it was very tall, and I didn't see anything surface again. After about 10 minutes, I went toward the North end of the beach and re-entered the water. My instinct at the time was definitely not dolphin or whale, either a human device of some kind or a shark dorsal fin. Whatever it was, it made me get out of the water quickly and watch.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Carlsbad On May 17, 2013 Kathy Krosner, and her companion Mary, had been surfing the Warm Water Jetty at Carlsbad. They had been on the water about 3.5 hours when they exited. It was about 12:15 PM when they returned to the beach to watch a lone surfer. The sky was clear and there was a brisk wind with air and water temperatures estimated at 70 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The ocean was choppy with very limited visibility to due suspended sand in the water column. The water was 25 – 30 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom. An adult pinniped, possibly a California Sea Lion, was observed in the area prior to the encounter. Kathy reported the following; “My friend Mary and I had just finished surfing, went ashore and dressed and went down to the beach and watched a surfer paddle out through the wash to enter the water. After about 20 minutes I was looking out at the surfer, who was all alone, and saw a solid black fin about 16 inches high protrude above the water about 20 feet from the surfer. It made a beeline toward the surfer at a speed of about 40 miles an hour. I screamed at my friend; 'look, look,…Shark, Shark.' We both stood up and I ran across the sand giving the shark signal to the surfer who was paddling toward shore. Suddenly I heard my friend yell; 'Look, oh my god it breached.' She had seen the shark come out of the water partially with something in its mouth and headed out to deep water. It was grey in color with white around its mouth. When the unknown surfer came in I asked; 'did you see that shark'? He then stated, with a very concerned look, 'I heard a seal scream, I turned around and looked to see a glimpse of a fin. I knew it wasn't a Dolphin so I came in.' He said he then saw me on the beach giving the shark signal my hand on my head and knew he had seen a shark.' The surfer was very shocked. I really thought the guy was going to be attacked, however, after speaking to him it must have been chasing the seal.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Clemente On May 16, 2013 Danny P (last name withheld by request) reported the following; “I was surfing today and saw a fairly large shark. I was surfing ‘Cottons' in San Clemente and it was about 2:00 PM. I was paddling back to the lineup after a wave. I sat on my board after I paddled out. Then I saw a 6 – 8 foot shark that was grey in color. I'm fairly sure it was a White Shark. I think it was approximately 80 yards offshore. The water and air temperatures were about 64 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The water was about 20 feet deep. No other marine life was spotted.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Pacific Beach On May 8, 2013 Brandon Beaver, 42, was surfing the Tourmaline surf break at the North end of Pacific Beach, San Diego. He was observed sitting on his surfboard far from the beach. He disappeared from view and the lifeguards were notified by the bystanders. On May 9th an individual walking along the beach near Tourmaline Street spotted the decedents body in the surf. Dr. Craig Nelson, Medical Examiner, San Diego County Coroner's Office, determined the cause of death to be drowning. The shark bites to the victim were all post-mortem with the causal species yet to be determined. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of Brandon Beaver. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Montara State Beach On April 25, 2013 Marc Wakasa reported the following; “I surfed at Montara State Beach early this morning. I saw a whale surface and spout about 5 yards from me, it was cool. I also thought I saw dolphin in a breaking wave about 10 yards out from my location. I have seen many dolphins at Montara and Pacifica in the past. A little later when I got out of the water I noticed a large decapitated sea lion on the beach. The wound seemed relatively new. The rest of the body looked fine and there were no other visible wounds.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Bayocean Peninsula Beach, OR On April 7, 2013 Nikki Valentine reported the following; “At 5:30 PM my friend, Molly Jackson-Nielsen, and I visited the Bayocean Peninsula County Park just North of Cape Meares in Tillamook, Oregon. Bayocean separates Tillamook Bay from the Pacific Ocean. As we were walking on the western side of the peninsula facing the ocean, the tide was going out and we spotted a harbor seal washing ashore. The seal was less than a meter long with a missing head and a large bite in its stomach exposing its intestine. However, the corpse looked fresh and did not smell yet. While I checked for shark teeth in the seal Molly spotted a fin in the outer waves. The only other animals we observed were two seagulls on shore. Molly and I then attempted to push the seal (with large sticks) back out past the waves in order to reunite the shark with its meal in hopes of witnessing a feeding. We did not succeed as the tide was too strong and the water was too cold, however we did observe the fin intermittently for over an hour. It was cloudy, windy and sprinkling and the waves were very choppy. We saw the fin through the waves since there were waves in front of the fin that were blocking it from our sight. We were also surprised by how shallow the fin appeared — we estimated it was in 5 – 8 feet deep water.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Imperial Beach On April 2, 2013 Rudy F. (last name omitted by request) was surfing at Imperial Beach near the south end of Seacoast Drive. It was 5:00PM and he had been on the water about an hour. The sky was clear with a 2 – 4 foot ocean swell. He recorded air and water temperatures of 65 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The water was 6 – 8 feet deep over a sandy ocean floor with 2 – 3 feet of underwater visibility. Rudy reported the following; “I usually go out with a friend but today I decided to go out alone for about an hour with the longboard. Nearly every day of surfing at this location I am able to see marine life either from my house or while in the water surfing and have been very close to both sea lions and dolphins. Today, however, after watching the surf for about 30 minutes prior to going out I saw neither. There were no other surfers at this location, which is not uncommon for the time of day and location due to it being all residential with limited public access and parking. After about an hour of surfing and 4 or 5 pretty good rides, I was laying on my board face down in the lineup. I was about to drift over a wave that would have broke behind me when I saw two dark black triangular-shaped dorsal fins, 18 – 20 inches high, heading in a straight line for me no more than 10 feet away and about 4 – 5 feet apart. The second the wave passed they disappeared. I immediately brought my hands and legs in and laid them across the board and looked around hoping I was mistaken and I would see them surface again only to identify them as dolphins. After about 30 seconds I began to paddle towards the shore. About 20 seconds into paddling a wave broke behind me and I was able to ride whitewash belly down on my board into the shore. Upon reaching the shore I watched the beach for about 30 minutes to see if I could spot them again or any other marine life, I saw nothing. After that I returned to my house and watched from the house for another 30 minutes for a total of one hour, and still saw no sign of any marine life. I have seen dolphins from my house or in the water and they always swam parallel to the shore. I have never seen them swim perpendicular towards or away from the shore. In this particular situation they were coming directly at me. There was no upward and downward arch motion that you see when dolphins swim, it was a straight shot of dorsal fin moving directly over the surface of the water.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Montara State Beach On March 26, 2013 Christopher Moe was walking his dog past the creek at the far North end of Montara State Beach located eight miles North of Half Moon Bay. It was about 5:20 PM with a cloudy sky and a light onshore breeze with an estimated air temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a slight surface chop creating ideal spring time surfing conditions. Moe reported;“I was observing a large whale and calf swimming inside 150 yards of the beach. They appeared to be very active and were surfacing more than other whales I have observed in the area recently. These were the only whales I had observed at the time of the encounter. I continued watching the whales and noticed that the larger whale was keeping the smaller whale on the inside of it, closest to the beach but just outside of where the waves were peaking/breaking. They appeared to be as close as possible without beaching themselves, just outside the sandbar. They began to surface more and at that time I spotted a large triangular fin just outside the two whales. It happened really quickly and was on the surface for a short moment. I kept watching as the two whales went back under. After about two minutes both whales surfaced again and I noticed the dorsal fin again dart around the two whales in a very "intentional" manner. This was absolutely not a dolphin. It stayed on top of the surface for more than a couple seconds this time. I would estimate the fin to be greater than 1.5 feet high. It moved at the top of the water in a long drawn out curved motion and then disappeared again. I attempted to film afterwards with my phone but the shark did not show itself again. I waited for a couple minutes to see if it would surface again but left to warn the people surfing at the South end of the beach. I did not go surfing after observing the fin. I have been surfing and living in this area now for years and have observed many whales and dolphins and I can only say that this was absolutely a shark fin. In my opinion it appeared to be targeting the calf as a potential meal and the mother, I presume, was fending off the attack by placing her body between the shark and calf.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Calumet Beach On March 24, 2013 Brian W. (name withheld by request) was surfing 100 yards from shore at ‘Sewer Pipes' in Calumet Beach, La Jolla. It was about 5:30PM and he had been on the water 15 – 20 minutes. Air and water temperatures were estimated in the mid to low 60s Fahrenheit, respectively with the sky partly cloudy. The water was about 10 feet deep over a rocky bottom. Brian reported; “When I first paddled out, I noticed something approximately 40 yards further out under the water chasing something. It moved fast enough to displace the water. It lasted for a few seconds and went in every which direction. I didn't think anything of it, since I have seen movements like this before. About 10 minutes later I noticed a seal approximately 100 yards further out pass by heading south. It was swimming at a fast pace jumping in and out of the water. I didn't think anything of it. I have seen seals swim like that before. Approximately 5-to-10 minutes later, I was sitting on my board for approximately 3 minutes waiting for another set as the ocean had gone calm for a few minutes. I saw a wave rolling in 150 yards out. I began paddling north, parallel to shore, but was looking out to sea watching the wave building trying to get into position. It was then a huge grey fin surfaced 20 feet outside, between me and the coming wave. The fin just floated there angled to the north as if it were moving parallel to my movements. I stopped, sat up and remembered thinking to myself holy sh*#! I immediately turned and paddled as hard as I could towards shore to catch the shoulder of the wave that I was originally paddling for. I stood up and looked back but the fin was gone. I got to shore safely and asked some guys sitting on the rocks watching me surf if they saw the fin. It was huge, and stuck up high above the water line. Unfortunately, no one else saw it. I sat on the rocks and the cliff for 15 minutes scanning the ocean never to see the fin again. I came home and ‘Googled' shark fins. After looking at photos of different shark fins, I can for sure say it was definitely a great white fin. I used my arms to resemble the shape and size of the fin then had my girlfriend measure. It's color was medium grey and approximately 24 inches tall and 18 inches wide. I have no idea how big the shark was. There was a surface glare from a setting sun so I could not see a shadow below the surface. I can only assume it was huge since it was the biggest fin I have ever seen. I have seen plenty of sea life while surfing for the past 20 years. I have seen whales up close. I have seen hundreds of dolphins up close. This was a shark guaranteed! It may have eaten that seal that swam by earlier. It was definitely checking me out.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On March 13, 2013 Nick DeNezzo had been walking along Ocean Beach, San Diego, which lies South of Mission Bay and directly North of Point Loma. It was 1:00 PM with air and water temperatures estimated at 60 and 56 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. DeNezzo reported; “I was standing on the shore observing the waves when a dark object in the water caught my eye. It was about 50 feet from shore. I observed a dorsal fin and the top part of a tail fin protruding from the water and the animal quickly darted in a few small circles, as if it was chasing a fish under the water. The fins were dark, triangular and pointed, and fairly small, and appeared to belong to an animal no larger than about 4 feet long. I've swam with Leopard Sharks, Triakis semifasciata, before and it was clearly different from them and appeared to be actively hunting some sort of fish. It disappeared after about 10 seconds and I did not see it again.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Pacific Beach On March 12, 2013 Eric Anderson was surfing at Pacific Beach located between La Jolla and Mission Beach. It was about 1:00PM and he had been on the water 30 – 40 minutes. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a 3 – 4 foot swell with the water temperature in the mid-50s Fahrenheit and 6 – 9 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom. Anderson reported; “I observed a seal just outside the lineup which is rather uncommon for the area compared to other beaches in San Diego, but it is the ocean and I thought nothing of it. About a half an hour later, I was paddling back out to the lineup after catching a wave. I was on the inside of the other surfers, and looked to my right and saw a large dorsal anywhere to a foot and a half to two feet or more in height about 20 or so yards outside the break. Ridges in the back of the fin were clear and pronounced. The shark cruised in a steady motion with only the dorsal fin protruding, but near enough to the surface to where you could see the large body underneath. The shadow of the body that I could see was about 15 feet in length. The shark did not stay above the surface for more than 2-4 seconds before it became completely submerged. I immediately paddled towards the beach with calm long powerful strokes in an effort to reach safety quickly, but not to draw attention to myself. The encounter happened so quickly I doubted what I saw, and observed the break for about 10 minutes afterwards. There were no dolphins present and the shark did not make another appearance.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Strands Beach On February 23, 2013 Joel Spinks was surfboard fishing 400 yards from the point at Strands Beach in Dana Point. It was about 12:00 PM and he had been on the water 90 minutes. Air and water temperatures were estimated between 65 – 70 and 55 – 57 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The sky was clear with a moderate breeze creating a slight bump to the ocean surface. Water was 20 – 30 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom adjacent to a reef with visibility 15 – 20 feet. There was a large kelp canopy attached to the nearby reef. No marine mammals were observed in the area. There were an undetermined number of seagulls and pelicans sitting on the ocean surface but none were diving for fish. Spinks reported;“I was surfboard fishing about 50 yards past the surfers, drifting south through patches of kelp, over reef, but inside of the main kelp beds by about 50 to 150 feet. I was trying to get close to some birds sitting on the water just to the South of me and I had just emerged from a patch of giant kelp. I started throwing lures facing Southeast towards some surfers who were on the inside waiting for waves when I noticed a dark shadow move over the sandy bottom towards me from the direction of the surfers. At first I thought it was a big chunk of seaweed drifting in the current but as it got closer I realized it was a shark by its movement and shape, and the fact it was moving against the current. It came straight towards me and veered just to the South a bit as it got closer. It appeared to be close to the bottom and interested in checking me out, so I was looking down at it at an angle the whole time. It cruised by effortlessly in a Northwest direction and continued to deeper water over to a dark patch of reef, then seemed to slowly turn and disappear over the reef. I could not make out any detail or make a positive identification as to what type of shark it was because of the depth it was at. The caudal fin did not appear to move much as it swam. The shark's color was dark grey/bronze as seen from above. It was stout with a large girth compared to its length and the pectoral fins seemed fairly large and stuck out farther than most sharks I've seen. It was about 7 – 8 feet in length. I have been surfboard fishing for approximately 20 years and have seen many sharks. This did not appear to be a leopard shark, soupfin, thresher, horn, or sand shark. My thoughts at the time were that it was a juvenile Great White Shark or possibly even a large angel shark because the pectoral fins stuck out far in comparison of the body length.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Del Mar On February 18, 2013 Josh Rifkin and an unidentified companion were surfing 100 yards from shore near 18 th Street in Del Mar, San Diego County. It was 10:00 AM and he had been on the water 1.5 hours. It was sunny with a mild breeze and an estimated air temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was glassy with 2 – 3 foot swells and a depth of about 6 feet. A few dolphins had moved through the area about 30 minutes prior to the encounter. Rifkin reported;“I had been surfing with a friend for about an hour and a half between 18th & 19 th Street in Del Mar. My friend had caught a wave in and was about 100 yards south of me. The only other person close by was a SUP about 200 yards to the North and he was paddling back out way on the inside. I was turning to paddle further inside during a lull in the sets to catch one last wave in. As I turned, a large shark, no more than 10 feet from me, exploded out of the surface like a submarine. It emerged with so much power and was travelling horizontally with the surface. I have been surfing for 25 years and know the movement of a dolphin. The fin was clearly triangular at least 12 inches in height and the portion of the grey/bronze body that was above the surface was about 6 – 7 feet from back to front. It happened so fast I'm not sure I saw the caudal fin. As I looked East from the lineup it was traveling towards the beach and to the South at high speed. It must have just made a dart for another fish and I happened to be there. At least that was what I was hoping as I made my way for the beach. The shark never attacked, but it flew by at an uncomfortable distance. Aside from seeing the body above the water it was the force and displacement of the water that has me convinced it was much larger than any dolphin. Nothing ever surfaced again and I stood on the beach looking to see if there were any dolphins to rule out what I saw. After 10 minutes I left the beach.“ Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Moss Landing State Beach On February 14, 2013 Larry Parsons, Santa Cruz Sentinel, reported the following;“Veteran surfer Mark Hull, age 60, watched a Great White Shark attack a California Sea Lion about 150 yards from a dozen surfers at Moss Landing State Beach at about 10:00AM. He was checking the surf line a quarter mile north of the harbor entrance when he saw a big splash about 100 yards offshore. At first, he thought a pelican had dived, but then gulls flocked to the site and seconds later, he saw a shark, 10 – 12 feet in length, lift a California Sea Lion out of the water, shaking it violently. Another surfer had just gotten out of the water near the spot where the shark and gulls were feeding. Hull told him about what was going on and handed him binoculars. The other surfer said he had seen a Sea Lion swim by when he was in the water. Word of the attack quickly spread along the beach causing surfers to exit the water. Hull said there was no doubt the shark was a Great White.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Dana Point On February 13, 2013 Tony West and his son were surfing in front of the river jetty at Dana Point. It was 5:00 PM and they had been on the water about 3 hours. Air and water temperatures were estimated in the upper 50s Fahrenheit. It was sunny with a calm ocean and surf 1 – 2 feet. The water was 6 – 8 feet deep over a reef with limited water visibility. No marine mammals were observed in the area. West reported;“My son and I were about 5 feet apart when he spotted the shark's dorsal fin. He said; ‘Look a shark' and pointed to an area about 30 yards from our location. I looked but didn't see anything. Then he said; ‘There it is, it's coming this way.' Again I looked but still didn't see it and looked back at him. He said; ‘Right there.' I turned and its dorsal fin was about 10 yards from our location. I only saw the one fin, which was about 8 – 10 inches high. It was gray and pointed on top appeared to me to be white on one side and gray on the other. I only got a short look before I said; ‘Lie down, get your feet up.' We slowly paddle for shore. We caught the next wave in. There were a few paddle boarders out at the time about 40 – 50 yards north of us. I didn't think much of it as paddle boarders have told me in the past they see sharks out there often. I don't think it was in attack mode just coming by to check us out. There was someone fishing at the time from the river jetty shore. I did not see the body, but it was definitely a shark.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Strands Beach On February 6, 2013 Cody Casey, Sam Mueller, and an unidentified friend, were surfing 50 yards from shore at Strands Beach, Orange County. It was 11:00AM and they had been on the water about 90 minutes. There was intermittent sunshine with air and water temperatures estimated at 65 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The ocean was calm at low tide with more than 10 feet of water visibility as the rocky-grassy reef below could be seen clearly from the surface. Kelp patties are about 300 yards from shore and extend about one-half mile. No marine mammals or unusual behavior of fish were observed prior to the encounter. Casey reported;“I was sitting out in the lineup waiting for a set to come in with my two friends. I was about 10 – 15 feet farther out then they were and we were just sitting on our boards.The visibility was pretty good so I was checking out the clear ocean floor underneath me. I looked down at the right side of my board and just underneath me, swimming very slowly, was a 7 – 8 foot long, and 2 – 3 foot wide, grayish shark. I freaked out and laid flat on my board and started paddling really hard towards shore. Once I had gotten a little closer to shore the shark changed direction and headed toward me in an aggressive manor. Its pointed sharp fin slowly came out of the water like in a classic jaws movie. Right when a wave was coming I saw about 15 or so dolphins coming through the side of the wave. Usually they catch waves in this area and ride the waves but this time I could see them swimming by it like they were chasing the shark off. When I was in knee deep water and everyone was close to shore, we saw the dolphins headed away from the beach out towards the kelp patties. Usually they go parallel to the coast.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Sacramento On February 6, 2013 the California Fish and Game Commission unanimously voted to advance the candidacy of the most feared predator in the ocean the Great White Shark. They said that it should be studied as a potential endangered species, which means during a one-year study review it will receive the same protections it would if it were listed as endangered. Great White Sharks are internationally protected and already can't be targeted for catch. During the review, the sharks will receive even more safeguards, and the immediate effect will be a ban on incidental takes by net fishermen, who opposed the review. Their population is estimated between 220 and 350 statewide.
Cayucos On January 30, 2013 Ryan Hulbert reported the following;“My friend, Matt Fawcett, and I met this morning for a surf session in Cayucos. The location is the southernmost end of Studio Drive, just south of the town of Cayucos, San Luis Obispo County, California. My friend and I were watching the waves at around 8:30a.m. from the top of the staircase, which is 75 – 100 yards from the lineup. Everyone I know calls the surf spot Chanies, or Chaney Avenue, since the cross street across the highway is Chaney Avenue. In any case, we were standing there discussing surf locations and conditions when I saw about a 5 foot set wave roll through. Through the wave I could see an animal that looked like a shark swimming parallel to the shore, but not with the wave towards the shore, like dolphins normally do. It was 20 – 25 yards from shore. This particular spot has many dolphins that frequently swim through the lineup normally, and so my first thought was that this was just a large dolphin. But when I saw this animal, it looked different than a dolphin, with a lighter underbody, light grey maybe and darker upper, like a White Shark. But I wasn't convinced it was a shark yet. After the wave passed my friend pointed out a harbor seal swimming in the lineup only 20 yards south from where the wave just broke and in a direct line of the shark's path. Within a few seconds, there was a large splash and commotion, and the seal was hopping in and out of the water erratically and frantically. The attack happened so fast that we didn't even know what happened. The seal disappeared under the surface and a moment later the shark's head broke the surface with the seal in its mouth and was thrashing and whipping it back and forth violently. It should also be noted that no marine life was observed anywhere in the area, both before and after the attack. Both Matt and I saw the attack. One thing that freaked me out was that a standup paddle boarder was out surfing only about 50 yards from the attack. We tried to signal him but he didn't respond. We decided not to surf and went home. It was definitely the scariest thing I have seen yet and I have surfed here for about 15 years.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Big Sur On January 21, 2013 Josh Langston was bodyboarding near Willow Creek at Big Sur, just South of Carmel and Monterey Bay. It was 8:00 AM and he had been on the water about 20 minutes. The sky was clear with air and water temperatures estimated at 54 and 52 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The water was 10 – 15 feet deep over a rocky reef with scattered bull kelp plants and poor water visibility due to the heavy surf, which was running 10 – 15 feet. A large amount of bull kelp was floating free in the surf zone. A single Elephant Seal , Mirounga angustirostris , was observed on the beach. Langston reported;“There were two surfers about 50 yards from my location, which after paddling out from shore was about 100 yards from the beach. While resting just beyond the kelp bed, something moving at the surface about 25 feet away suddenly caught my eye. It was a dorsal fin that appeared to be 18 – 24 inches high. It moved slowly across the surface for about 3 seconds or so then submerged. I have been surfing for more than 20 years and I can definitely say it was not a dolphin. The two surfers and I stayed out for more than an hour before going in.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Pleasure Point On January 19, 2013 Rikard Kjellberg was surfing at Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz County. It was 9:00 AM and he had been on the water about one hour. It was sunny with air and water temperatures estimated at 55 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The ocean was calm with 6 foot swells over a rocky reef in 10 feet of water. There were two Southern Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) , also known as California Sea Otters, in the area. Kiellberg reported; “I observed what appeared to be a Great White Shark swimming near me about 100 feet from shore. It was 12 – 15 feet in length and exposed its side and I could see its upper and lower body. The upper was grey with the lower white.” Several additional sightings were reported to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff. Warnings were posted at Pleasure Point and several additional locations. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Chatsworth On January 16, 2013 the Shark Research Committee published its Press Release for last year.
Pacific Coast Shark Attacks During 2012
There were 8 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast of North America during 2012, which includes 1 fatal attack. There were 7 attacks, including the fatal case, recorded from California and 1 from Oregon. The attacks were distributed in the following months; January (1), May (2), July (2) and October (3). There were 2 shark attacks reported south of the southern Santa Barbara County line, with the remaining 5 attacks from Santa Barbara County north. The single Oregon shark attack occurred near Lincoln City. Activities of the victims were; 4 Surfing (1 fatal), 2 Kayaking, 1 Windsurfing and 1 Paddle boarding. The Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias, was positively identified or highly suspect in all 8 of the attacks.
The publication “Shark Attacks of the Twentieth Century” authenticated 108 unprovoked shark attacks from the Pacific Coast between 1900 and 1999. The Great White Shark was implicated in 94 (87%) of the 108 confirmed attacks with an annual average of slightly more than one shark attack per year. The 8 cases reported for 2012 brings the total number of unprovoked shark attacks occurring along the Pacific Coast during the 21st Century to 72. This is ‘six times' the Twentieth Century annual average of slightly more than 1 shark attack per year. The Great White Shark was positively identified or highly suspect in 63 (88%) of the 72 attacks recorded during the 21st Century. From 2000 to the present, 35 (49%) of the 72 confirmed shark attacks occurred during the three month period of August (10), September (9), and October (16). There have been 180 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast of North America from 1900 to 2012. The Great White Shark was positively identified or highly suspect in 157 (87%) of the 180 cases. There were 8 fatal shark attacks confirmed from 1900 to 1999 and 5 fatal attacks reported from 2000 to 2012. The 13 fatal attacks represent 7% of the 180 total cases.
Victim activity for the 72 shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast since 2000 are distributed in the following ocean user groups; surfers 48 (67%) of the documented attacks, with 5 swimmers (7%), 8 kayakers (11%), 4 divers (6%), 4 paddle boarders (6%), 1 windsurfer (1%), 1 fishing (1%), and 1 boogie boarder (1%). The number of shark-bitten marine mammals reported in 2012 was greater than the prior year, especially in Santa Barbara County. The location and time of year, would suggest an increase in the number of Great White Sharks utilizing those specific areas. However, this might not be the result of an increase in their population but rather locations being targeted by sharks migrating along the Pacific Coast. The Shark Research Committee will continue to closely monitor these activities.
Malibu On January 8, 2013 Paul Vandervort reported the following; “At approximately 3:10 PM I observed a shark fin in shallow water about 1 mile South of Malibu Pier. It was dark grey in color and shaped like a Great White Shark fin not a dolphin. The movement was slow and steady unlike a dolphin.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.