Pacific Coast Shark News 2016
The following reports for 2016 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, for 2012 news click here for 2013 click here for 2014 click here and for 2015 click here.
2016 SRC Isla de Guadalupe Island Expedition The 2015 Shark Research Committee Isla de Guadalupe Island Expedition was an overwhelming success. There were 9 White Sharks, ranging in size from 12 18 feet that provided superb subjects for the Expedition Members to observe, photograph and film. Due to the tremendous response last year, we have been asked to sponsor another trip this year. If you would like to participate in the November 26 December 1, 2016 SRC Expedition please drop me a note at; firstname.lastname@example.org and I will provide you with the itinerary, amenities, requirements, and cost. Our host will be Jimi Partington of Shark Diving Xperts and Islander Charters. Space is limited so make your reservation today. Don't miss this opportunity to dive with these magnificent predators it will be a remarkable adventure that you will remember for a lifetime .
Morro Bay On May 19, 2016 Alex Henige reported the following;Today, I was out at Morro Bay Rock checking the surf around 2:50 PM, right before the tide was beginning to bottom out. It was pretty windy and weird surf conditions so I was just sitting in my car checking the surf, honestly waiting to see if anyone would venture out. While I was waiting however, I saw a huge splash out about 300 yards out past the surf break, North of the surf spot called the pit.' I had never seen a splash that large before and am pretty familiar with Whale activity as well as Dolphin activity. As I continued to watch, there was then the main breach. I saw a massive shark breach out of the water, but it was really weird because it turned so fast, that the tail ended up vertical, way faster than the head. Being that it was a good distance away as well, it was obvious that this was not a juvenile either. The shark looked massive, even though I was a good 1/2 mile away from it. I went home, after not getting in the water, to look at shark attack videos on seals. It replicated the same motion of a Great White going after a seal, but twerking as soon as it would hit it, so that the tail is vertical into the air. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Pacifica State Beach On May 17, 2016 Shawn Faske was surfing at Pacifica State Beach (AKA Linda Mar Beach) in Pacifica near San Francisco. It was 1:00 PM and he had been on the water about one hour. It was a sunny day with little or no wind and an estimated air temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm and about 15 feet deep with 3 5 foot waves and 3 feet of water visibility. No marine mammals were observed in the area during the encounter. Faske reported;I was sitting upright on my surfboard looking West at the wave sets coming in. I was the Northern most in a group of 8 other surfers and we were sitting directly in the line-up West and slightly South of the restaurant Puerto 27.' Between some of the bigger sets that day, while I was looking West, I saw a large black object close to me in the water on my left periphery. When I looked directly at it I saw the entire length of the juvenile 7 8 foot Great White Shark very clearly just at the surface. It swam slowly past me due North, only 6 feet West of me, parallel to the waves and beach, at or just outside the line-up where the wave breaks. A small wave must have passed under the shark because I saw the right side of it in its entirety very clearly almost directly from the side and slightly from above. I saw its upright tail fin, its head, right eye, and its dorsal fin. It was definitely observing me as it swam slowly by. I stayed calm and moved to the back of my board, which was pointing right at it, thinking I would use it to fend off the shark if it turned towards me. It continued mostly due North slightly bearing East while observing my behavior. When I felt it had moved out of direct striking distance, roughly 9 10 feet, North/Northwest of me, I turned my board towards the beach, laid on the board while watching the shark, and paddled with long deep strokes back to the beach. I told the other surfers I just saw a shark on my way in and told other surfers on the beach about to enter the water that I saw a Great White Shark. One of the surfers I spoke with on the beach was out surfing earlier in the morning and was going back out to surf after lunch. He said he saw a huge whale out that morning. Besides the shark, I only saw birds out that day. No other mammals. I also reported the encounter to the Pacifica Police Station, as instructed by a city official who was at the beach. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Sunset Beach On May 3, 2016 Sonia Nicholson was surfing at Sunset Beach just North of Will Rogers State Beach in Los Angeles County. It was 12:00 PM and she had been on the water about 30 minutes. The sky was clear with a mild 3 knot wind and an estimated air temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with an estimated water temperature in the low 60s Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Nicholson reported;I was facing out to sea between wave sets and saw a large white form jump out of the water near the buoy inside and to the right of it about 200 yards away. It came completely out of the water in an arc, presenting its white belly to the shore. The belly was whiter and bigger, especially much wider, than the Dolphins we usually see in this area. I asked the people on either side of me if they had seen it, but they had not. Not having had much sleep the night before, I wondered if I had imagined this, and decided either way, if I had seen it or not, it would probably be a good idea to get out of the water. When I got to the beach a man said he also saw it. The length seemed to me to be in the 7 foot range, but he thought it was more like 5 or 6. As I was changing up on the bluff, a stand up paddler asked me how the waves were and I told him about the shark. He said people had seen a 5 6 foot juvenile at this beach in the last couple of weeks. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Pismo Beach On April 28, 2016 Jayson Koski was surfing with Joel Bishop about 140 yards from shore and 50 feet North of the Pismo Beach Pier. It was 7:30 AM and they had been on the water about 1 hour. The sky was clear with little or no breeze and waves running about 6 feet. A pinniped was observed in the area prior to the brief encounter. Koski reported;While waiting for a set a dorsal fin, about 16 inches high, surfaced close to our location. We caught the next wave into the beach. The shape and size of the fin was unmistakable that of a Great White Shark. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On April 24, 2016 Ned (last name withheld by request) was surfing Trail 4 at San Onofre State Beach. It was 8:00 8:15 AM and he had been on the water approximately 1.5 hours. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 68 and 62 63 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The sky was clear with a light breeze. The ocean was glassy with a light wind texture to the sea surface over a sandy ocean bottom about 10 15 feet deep. Water visibility was estimated at 8 10 feet. A pod of dolphins were corralling bait and surfing approximately 15 20 minutes prior to the sighting. Ned reported;I was situated 25 yards off the shoreline in a lineup of 6 surfers in the immediate proximity of the sighting. The shark swam South to North and parallel to the shore, approximately 3 feet below the water surface. The dorsal fin was not visible above the water, but the entire shark was easily visible and identifiable as a Great White Shark, 6 7 feet in length. It swam between me and 3 of my buddies and then proceeded North and swam between 2 other surfers' that were 5 8 yards away in the lineup. The shark was swimming at a leisurely pace. Once out of sight, we did not encounter it again and stayed in the water for another 30 45 minutes. All surfers were either sitting on their boards or slowly paddling to adjust position in the lineup. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Clemente On April 24, 2016 Dave Schulte provided the following;A dead whale washed ashore at Lower Trestles just South of San Clemente and about one mile North of San Onofre Power Plant. A second dead whale washed ashore later this afternoon at San Clemente State Park Beach. Cause of death for either animal was not determined. Orange County Register Staff Writer Laylan Connolly provided additional information; http://www.ocregister.com/articles/whale-713433-dead-carcass.html . Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Dana Point Harbor On April 20, 2016 Bill Morales was kayak fishing off of Dana Point Harbor. David Strege of the of the Orange County Register reported the following;While kayak fishing a quarter-mile off Dana Point Harbor, Bill Morales caught a good-sized Leopard Shark, Triakis semifasciata , that led to a very close encounter with a Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias. As he held the Leopard Shark, he was suddenly 'jerked backwards' as the Great White Shark began attacking his fish. Morales said; 'I had a camera in one hand and I had the shark in the other hand, and he was going back and forth. I had to move my arm back and forth like a piston so that it wouldn't just pull me over.' His girlfriend was in a kayak about 50 feet away when she heard him say, 'A Great White got my shark.' She admitted to being skeptical. Morales estimated the Great White Shark to be 8 10 feet in length and 300 to 400 pounds. All that was left of the Leopard Shark was the head, pectoral fins and upper portion of its body, as the Great White Shark got the rest. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On April 17, 2016 Tyler Chapman was surfing Trail 6 at San Onofre State Beach. It was between 9:30 10:30 AM and he had been on the water about 20 minutes. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 80 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The sky was clear and the ocean calm with 2 feet of water visibility over a sandy ocean bottom 6 8 feet deep. A pod of 4 6 Dolphins were observed in the area along with 6 anglers that were surf fishing South of his location. Chapman recalled;I had just missed a wave and was paddling back into position when what I thought was a 4 5 foot shark at the time swam under me going the opposite direction. I could tell it was a shark by the unmistakable shape of the dorsal fin and vertical tail fin. I kept surfing for another 45 minutes and came in. When I was walking back to my car a Canadian tourist showed me a picture he had taken of the shark from the bluff above while it was swimming next to me and it could be clearly seen from the photo to be at least 7 8 feet in length. There were about a dozen tourists on the bluff that also identified it as a shark. The photographer and I traded contact information so he could forward a copy of the photograph to me. After a few minutes a Coast Guard helicopter circled the area and several state park lifeguards/rangers drove to the area to investigate. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On April 16, 2016 Michael Schultz was surfing with an undetermined number of surfers at Trial 1, San Onofre State Beach. It was 11:00 11:30 AM and he had been on the water about 5 minutes. He estimated the water temperature at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a mild 5 mph breeze. Water visibility was good over a sandy ocean bottom 6 8 feet deep. Schultz recalled;Several surfers, myself included, had repeated encounters with a shark at Trail 1, San Onofre State Beach. The shark was inside of the break, 20 25 feet shoreward of me. I estimate the water could not have been any deeper than about 4 feet in the area the shark was observed. At one point I surfed over the shark. Most of the surfers thought it to be 4 5 feet in length. However, when I passed over the top of the shark, which appeared to be a dark brown color, I thought it closer to 8 feet in length. The shark remained in the area for slightly more than an hour. When I left it was still present in the area. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On April 10, 2016 Jeffrey Parks was surfing about 50 yards from shore at San Onofre State Beach, Trail 6. It was 12:30 PM with the surf 2 3 feet under a partially cloudy sky. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 67 and 63 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. Parks reported;I was surfer in the water, along with 6 other surfers. A guy on beach started yelling at us, very excitedly/ frantically, to come in. We cleared out of the water within a couple minutes. There were 3 people on the beach that witnessed a Great White Shark, estimated to be 15 20 feet in length, feeding on something. There was a 10 15 foot blood trail and lots of water movement about 50 yards off shore. A surfer was maybe 20 yards from the location and didn't even notice the commotion. When we were all on shore looking for the shark, we saw a pod of Dolphins just South of us about 100 yards out from shore and moving North to where the shark sighting had occurred. Then we saw both dorsal and tail fin of the Great White much farther out than the original observed location, maybe 300 yards, and it appeared to be still wrestling or playing with something. Then it was gone. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Sunset Beach On March 24, 2016 Julio Felix was surfing at Sunset Beach, between Bolsa Chica State Beach and Seal Beach in Orange County. The sky was clear with very little breeze and an estimated air temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It was 10:30AM and he had been on the water about 15 minutes. The ocean was glassy calm with 4 5 foot waves over a sandy ocean bottom with an estimated water temperature of 59 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the immediate area. Felix recalled;I was sitting on my board when I observed a dorsal fin about 50 feet from my location. It swam very close to several surfers that later informed me it was a baby shark' about 6 feet in length. I did not see any of the surfers go ashore after the shark swam into their area. Everyone continued to surf without incident. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Sunset Beach On March 21, 2016 Curzon Peier was surfing at Sunset Beach, the northern beach in Will Rogers State Beach, Los Angeles. It was 2:00 PM and he had been on the water about 1 hour. The sky was overcast with a mild breeze and a recorded air temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with the surf about 4 feet over a sandy ocean bottom with a few scattered rocks and sea grass. The recorded water temperature was 57 degrees Fahrenheit with the depth of the water about 20 feet. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Peier reported;I was scouring the horizon for waves when a shark, about 6 feet in length (white belly), shot out of water in its entirety, vertically like a rocket, about 100 feet from me and three other surfers. It splashed back in the water. We know of sharks having being spotted jumping out of the water in the area and thought no more of it and stayed surfing. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Sunset Beach On March 18, 2016 Michael Duffey and his uncle were surfing at Sunset Beach, between Bolsa Chica State Beach and Seal Beach in Orange County. It was 10:00 AM and they had been on the water about 1 hour. The ocean was glassy calm and the sky clear. The air temperature was estimated at 70 degrees Fahrenheit with the water temperature in the upper 50s. There were 7 8 Dolphins and 4 5 surfers in the area. Duffey reported;We were sitting on our surfboards waiting for waves when a young lady on a Stand-Up-Paddleboard heading toward the beach informed us that she had seen a shark further out from our location. As she continued past our location I noticed a shark fin coming straight toward us and the shore. It was about 2 feet high. My uncle and I immediately proceeded to paddle toward shore. When we reached the shore I looked out past the waves and noticed the Dolphins were aggressively swimming and jumping around the other surfers that were now huddled together. I also observed several Dolphin lying at the surface in front of the surfers. They were very close to the surfers. It seemed like they were trying to scare off this large shark or protect the surfers. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Huntington Beach On March 16, 2016 Matt Moore was surfing near Beach Blvd. in Huntington Beach. It was 8:00 AM and he had been on the water about 30 minutes. The sky was clear and the ocean was glassy calm with a 3 foot swell over a sandy bottom with 2 3 feet of water visibility. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 65 and 62 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. There were more than a dozen Dolphins observed in the area. Moore reported;I've been surfing for 25 years and have had 6 encounters with Great Whites in the past 20 years while surfing in California. Mostly north of the Golden Gate, so this isn't my first rodeo. I surf Huntington Beach every morning before work, either north or south of the pier and knew I was bound to see one sooner or later, being that group of juveniles isn't migrating. Therefore, I paddled out in between two groups of surfers. 2 were 50 yards north, 6 were 50 yards south. I caught two waves and was waiting for another set to come, sitting upright on my board, and was facing the beach with my back to the incoming sets. I'd counted at least a dozen active dolphins in the area that morning. They were scattered up and down the beach, going north, south, and into the surf; traveling solo and in groups; and jumping out of the water, and riding waves. One particularly big boil erupted between me and the 2 surfers to the north, about 25 yards distant. It displaced more water that a dolphin typically does, so I kept a keen eye on that location. Within a few minutes a juvenile great white jumped nose-first out of the water, upside down, towards the beach. This happened 10 yards north and towards the shore break from where I sat on my board. Since it happened in my peripheral vision, I wasn't looking directly in that exact spot during the initial breach, I was therefore unable to see the head come out of the water. But as I instantly zeroed in on that sector I was able to immediately notice the white underbelly and male sex organ protruding from its underside near the tail (long white cone shaped tube[s]). The tail was up and down (horizontal) and not flat (perpendicular) like a dolphins. I paddled over to the closest group of surfers to the south then caught a wave in. One guy witnessed the event. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On February 20, 2016 Laura Wolfgang reported;I was sitting in the line up straight out from bathroom 5 by the volleyball courts. It was a moderately large swell of 4 5 feet. I paddled out and sat about 15 20 feet South of the main surf peak. Suddenly a 6 7 foot beautiful juvenile Great White Shark torpedoed completely out of the water between me and another surfer. The tail was about a foot out of the water. It fell back into the water and I did not see it again. The only other surfer who saw this was the guy about 20 feet from me. A most amazing experience. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Barbara On February 11, 2016 a juvenile Great White Shark, 5 7 feet in length, was reported by a Sea Center employee. At 11:30 AM the shark was swimming near the East side of Stearns Wharf. Per standard Santa Barbara City protocol, nearby beaches will be posted with an advisory for 72-hours. If there are no further sightings, the advisory will be removed Sunday afternoon, February 14th. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On February 6, 2016 Patricia Waterman, and an unidentified companion, were surfing about ½ of a city block North of the Lifeguard Station at Trail 6, San Onofre State Beach. It was 10:00 AM and they had only been on the water a few minutes as they paddled out from shore to their desired location. The water was clear and about 20 feet deep with the waves 1 3 feet. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Waterman reported;I noticed the shark as soon as I had reached my desired outside distance. It circled me and my board, which is 9.5 feet in length. I balanced my hands and legs on top of the board. It circled 360 degrees when a wave came that I eagerly went for and rode it to shore and safely got out of the water. Another lone surfer was circled by the shark right after me. He came into shore about 5 minutes after me and my friend and reported on his event with the shark. It was a juvenile Great White Shark, 5 plus feet in length and about 1 foot wide. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Clemente On January 18, 2016 Journalist Pete Thomas reported the following;A juvenile great white shark was hooked and reeled to a Southern California pier Monday as passersby and the angler rooted for the predator to break the line. The 6-foot shark in the accompanying footage (see link) can be seen languishing after being reeled to the surface at the San Clemente Pier in north Orange County. It's belly-up toward the end of the struggle before finally righting itself and breaking the line, swimming away amid cheers. Great white sharks are protected in California. Hooking them accidentally is not illegal, of course, but anglers are supposed to break the line once they realize they've hooked one. But juvenile white sharks commonly feed in Southern California waters throughout much of the year, although sightings are more common in the spring and summer. They're rarely hooked by anglers on piers, but there have been sporadic catches, a few of which became well-publicized incidents. In July 2014, a white shark bit a swimmer as it was hooked and being fought by an angler on the Manhattan Beach Pier in L.A. County. In Aug. 2011, an angler was investigated after hauling a 5-foot white shark onto the Huntington Beach Pier in Orange County. Closer to San Clemente, California, in Dec. 2013, a U.S. Marine caught and released a 10-foot white shark while fishing from the beach in Camp Pendleton. Additional information available at; http://www.grindtv.com/fishing/great-white-shark-hooked-from-pier-breaks-free-amid-cheers/#q7j9xcKO2bpJemLv.97 . Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Leadbetter Beach On January 16, 2016 Nick Svensson was surfing with his son off the point at Leadbetter Beach. Peter Howorth, Santa Barbara News-Press Correspondent, reported the following;Local surfer Nick Svensson was surfing with his son off the point at Leadbetter Beach late Saturday afternoon when he said he saw a dorsal fin. At first he thought it was a dolphin, but as a wave rose, he could clearly see that it was a great white shark. It was only about ten feet from him. Mr. Svensson could see its tail at this point, which was moving from side to side. The distance from the tail to the dorsal fin was 5 6 feet and he estimated the total length of the shark to be about 8 feet. It was definitely a juvenile,' he said. It was less than two feet in diameter.' In a macabre turn of events, the shark started to nibble on a red flower that was floating nearby with other blossoms from a memorial service. The shark noticed Svensson about this time and headed seaward. I think I may have frightened it away.' He continued; At no time did it threaten me.' He immediately told his son then paddled around warning the other 12 surfers that were in the area. Svensson called the harbor patrol after his encounter, which posted signs at Santa Barbara Beaches explaining that a shark had been seen in the area. The warnings will remain up until Tuesday, January 19, if there are no further sightings. The warnings are intended to aid the public in making an informed decision about entering the water,' the harbor patrol said in a prepared statement. Warning signs went up less than two weeks earlier at Leadbetter after local sailing instructor Jason Burke was conducting crew overboard drills about a mile offshore. He stated that a great white shark he estimated at 14 to 15 feet long breached next to a life preserver they had thrown overboard to represent a person in the water. The shark whacked the life preserver with its tail. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Montecito On January 13, 2016 Kurt Harris reported the following;At about 5:30 PM I had been surfing for about 30 minutes off Miramar Beach in Montecito. It was at dusk and I was the only surfer in the water. The surf was small and choppy with an estimated air and water temperatures of 60 degrees and 59 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. Most of the time on the water I was facing out to sea looking for approaching sets of waves. I would estimate that I was 50 70 yards, or less, from shore most of the time. When I finished surfing and emerged from the water a local resident who had been watching told me that the whole time I was surfing he witnessed a shark, evidenced by a dark shape underwater and obvious dorsal fin, racing up and down Miramar Beach possibly feeding about 5 10 yards from shore (inside of my position) in just a few feet of water. He said the shark swam in my direction once when I was sitting on my board but then veered off. He estimated it to be at least as long as my surfboard, which is 7 feet 2 inches in length. I never personally saw the shark but he showed me photographs he had taken with his iphone. The image in the photographs looked like it could be a shark and he seemed reliable in his description. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Huntington Beach On January 11, 2016 Susan Godwim and two unidentified companions were surfing near The Cliffs' in Huntington Beach. It was 11:30 AM and they had been on the water about 1 hour. The sky was clear with a mild breeze and an estimated air temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. It was high tide and the sea conditions were calm with the water temperature estimated to be 56 degrees Fahrenheit. An undetermined number of Dolphin had moved through the area a few minutes prior to the encounter. Susan reported;My two friends and I were sitting on our boards when we observed the shark. It was traveling South to North straight towards us in an intersecting path. It remained on the surface until it was within 10 20 feet of us then seemingly dove down out of sight. The dorsal fin was grey and about 8 inches high with the tail also above the surface. We did not see it again after it submerged. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Carpinteria On January 8, 2016 Peter C. Howorth, Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center, reported the following non-emergency advisory;I visited the Carpinteria seal colony today and saw one adult harbor seal with fresh wounds on its lower back inflicted by a white shark. I saw another animal with an old, healed scar. The animals were just beginning to come ashore as the tide receded. I intend to go back during a low tide when many more are on the beach to get an idea of how many have been attacked. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Leadbetter Beach On January 4, 2016 Jason Burke, a captain at the Santa Barbara Sailing Center reported the following; "I was practicing man overboard drills with four students. I was about a mile off Leadbetter Beach, Santa Barbara, at the time. I had dropped an orange life preserver into the water and we were making turns around it, when a White Shark, estimated at 14 to 15 feet in length, breached horizontally next to the preserver and 15 feet from our boat, a 34-foot J-24 sloop. The shark whacked the life preserver with its tail and disappeared." Burke saw the dark back and white sides clearly and was certain it was a White Shark. Burke has been a surfer all his life and has considerable boating experience as well. The Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol posted warning signs at Leadbetter Beach. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.