Pacific Coast Shark News 2008
The following reports for 2008 have been 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 news click here, and for 2006 news click here, and for 2007 news click here.
Surf Beach On December 21, 2008 Scott Martinson was surfing Surf Beach at about 11:30 AM. The beach is located close to Highway 1 and 240 where the road dead ends at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 58 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. Martinson reported; “I was surfing on my SUP this morning at Surf Beach. The surf was 3 – 4 feet. I caught a wave in and was paddling back out when off in the distance I saw a shadow 40 – 50 yards away. If I was not on my stand up I would not have seen it until it got really close, stealthy animals for sure. I thought it was a whale at first because there were a few earlier in the morning swimming through the line up. As I paddled back out to the outer peak the shadow got closer and I could tell it was not a whale or dolphin it was a shark. I was on a 9' 6” SUP when it came along side of me. I’m estimating it was 5 feet longer than my board, so 12 – 15 feet in length. It seamed surreal because we were cursing side buy side for a few minutes. I could have reached down and touched it. I could not tell what type of shark it was until it turned and I saw it’s white under belly. It was 100% Great White!” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Dillon Beach On December 20, 2008 Tony Johnson reported the following; “Lucy, Anders, Cristina, Bill, Gordon, Jonathan and I were returning from a beautiful day of paddling. We were all gathered just south of Tamales Head in front of Dillon Beach. The group was deciding on surfing options when I asked Lucy if she wouldn't mind if I went in. It was 3:00 PM. While going in I remember trying to make a conscious effort to use proper torso rotation and form while using my Greenland paddle. When half way through my right stroke a Great White Shark, with a girth larger than the width of my 22 inch kayak, hit my paddle from behind with such force that it slammed me forward to the front of my deck. Feeling the turbulence on my boat I sat up in shock at the speed, power, and size of this creature. I wish there were some way I could relate, or explain, how fast this creature was in water. I was facing the beach with my paddle out of the water, holding it in preparation for a second hit and saying to myself, 'stay frosty.' I was afraid to move and started yelling to my group that was behind me, ‘Great White’ – ‘Great White.’ I did this for several seconds before I decided to turn the boat around and head for the group. I stayed very still and slowly extended my paddle to turn towards the group. While turning the boat I looked to my right and there, 15 – 20 feet away, was the Great White, its dorsal fin out of the water. Its dorsal fin was large and shredded at the tip. The Great White was moving slowly, turning with my boat, this really caused me to panic and I paddled as fast as I could to the group yelling ‘Great White’ many times until someone heard me. We all gathered together and paddled in to Dillon Beach. While on the beach I examined the paddle and there were no bite marks, which I can't explain.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Hermosa Beach Between December 1-3, 2008 John reported the following to Marcus at Surfline.com; “Just as an FYI, while running the other night around low tide in Hermosa Beach, I came upon a seal that had been attacked. It was headless and had obvious bite injuries to its side, neck, and flippers. I'm going to keep a heads up out in the water for a bit.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
China Beach On November 29, 2008 the following observation was made by Megan; “I was recently on vacation in San Francisco over the weekend. On Saturday I was sitting outside China Beach for a few hours watching all the surfers rushing to get to the cove off to the left of the beach. Must have been great waves that day! While looking straight ahead and out into the water I saw a really large fish with a very prominent fin as well as some of its body surface then slowly go back under water. It disappeared for a good 30 seconds or longer then slowly popped up again. I watched it very slowly move towards Ocean Beach. I was afraid it could be heading towards the surfers, but my friend said she did not think it was anything to worry about, plus I am not sure she quite believed me.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Anacapa Island On November 17, 2008 Clayton Fischer was SCUBA diving for lobster off the North side of the West end of Anacapa Island, Santa Barbara. It was 7:30 AM and he had been in the water about 15 minutes. The sky was clear with the air temperature 65 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with light winds and over 75 feet of water visibility with a recorded water temperature of 52 degrees Fahrenheit. He was on the bottom, over a reef, in 120 feet of water. No lobsters had been taken prior to the encounter. Fischer recalled; “I was lobster diving early in the morning working the outside of a reef structure in 90-120 feet of water. The reef structure in the area is a series of fingers with sand channels between them. While working down one of the fingers the shark appeared in my peripheral vision. The visibility was good in the area, 70 feet or so, so I saw the fish coming from a ways off. It passed by me within 25 to 30 feet on the outside of the reef over the sand. A very big fish, 15 to 18 feet long with no scarring that I noticed. It was incredibly thick and seemed to swim without even its tail moving. I ‘hugged’ the reef and watched as it made a slow circle and came back for another look at me. The shark did not behave aggressively at all and in hindsight, I am sure it was only checking me out. However at the time being converted from predator to potential prey was frankly terrifying. After the second pass I decided to terminate the dive but as it was a drift dive I knew the boat was picking up another diver about 800 yards away at about the same time so I worked my way to the shallower end of the reef in about 75 feet of water and waited for the boat to come over. My biggest concern was spending time on the surface. Usually we have to signal the boat with a whistle and/or a marker buoy, then wait to get picked up. Luckily it was a very calm morning so I knew they would see my bubbles, especially if I wasn't moving. Also since the water was very clear I was able to see the surface from where I was so when the boat came I saw it stop right over me. The size of the fish is what made the biggest impression on me. I have been diving the Channel Islands for over 30 years and have had my share of scares but have never had an experience even close to this. As divers we feel like we are the apex predators in the water. No more. I have seen nature shows, read accounts of shark encounters and attacks but none of it prepared me for a face to face.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Siuslaw River, OR On November 16, 2008 Ian Jarman, Jeff Alberty, and Tres Tucker were surfing near the North Jetty of the Siuslaw River near Florence, Oregon. It was about 1:00 PM with a mostly sunny sky and east winds estimated at 10 knots. Air and water temperatures were estimated in the mid-60s and 50s Fahrenheit respectively. The surf was 5 – 7 with a West swell. The ocean floor is sandy at this location with water depth ranging from 6 – 20 feet, the result of a shallow beach break with deeper water behind the break. There were an undetermined number of pinnipeds in the area prior to the predatory event. Jarman, Alberty, and Tucker were sitting still while waiting for the next set when a fellow surfer called out ‘Shark.’ Turning quickly Tucker saw a huge White Shark surface with a ‘freshly killed sea lion in its mouth. Blood began to spread out as the shark splashed, showing its tail.” All agreed the “shark was about 50 feet away from the line up. Tucker said "We all left the water immediately. A mutual friend had gone back out, not knowing about the White Shark. We watched as a group of Sea Lions surrounded him so he could not move. They were barking excessively and seemed very agitated." The unsuspecting surfer later told his friends that he thought the seals actions were unusual. Witnesses said, “ two smaller Blue Sharks, 5 – 6 feet in length, were also seen in the ‘kill zone’ along with numerous sea birds. After seeing the two Blue Sharks the lone surfer quickly paddled into shore.” A small crowd gathered on the beach and watched the feeding shark for a period of 15 – 20 minutes. A consensus of opinion placed the White Shark’s length at 12 – 15 feet. Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On November 16, 2008 Ben Busse, and his friend Alex, were surfing the North side of Ocean Beach, San Francisco. They had started there first session at 9:30 AM, winding up at 11:45 AM when they headed to the beach for a few minutes of rest. They decided to have one more short session and returned to the water. They were 100 – 125 meters from the beach at high tide. They had been in the water about 5 minutes when Busse reported; “Alex paddled up to me and said, ‘I just saw a fin moving slowly, and directly toward us from beyond the lineup, maybe 25 meters out….it could be a shark.’ He said the fin appeared very briefly, maybe 5 seconds then it disappeared. He estimated the height of the dorsal fin to be at least 12 inches. He also saw part of the body around the dorsal fin and said ‘whatever it was, it had a very wide body and looks larger than anything I’ve seen out here…it could be a shark.’ About 2 minutes later Alex saw the fin again and this time he went ashore. About 3 minutes after Alex had gone in I saw the dorsal fin moving slowly diagonally, Northeast toward the beach. The fin was at least 12 inches tall and moved horizontally at the surface. It did not act like a dolphin. After a few seconds the fin disappeared beneath the surface and I headed toward the beach.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Imperial Beach On October 31, 2008 Marcus at Surfline.com received the following report from Joey Bradley; “A shark was observed at Imperial Beach, South of the pier, in the La Boca Rio area near Encato Street. It was approximately 8 feet long and was next to a group of birds feeding on a school of fish. It was not far from shore, about 20 – 30 yards, and about 10 feet from me.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach, Trail Six On October 27, 2008 several large sharks were observed close inshore at Trail 6, San Onofre State Beach, just South of San Clemente. The following report from ‘Sig’ was received by Marcus at Surfline.com; “So I'm checking the surf at Newport yesterday (Tuesday, 10-28-08) when this guy rolls up to check it out too. We start chatting a bit about the surf lately. Once he discovers that I live in San Clemente, he proceeds to tell me about his surf at Trail 6 this past Monday afternoon (10-27-08). He said that he and his buddy had been surfing fun waves for a couple hours at ‘Trail 6’ by themselves. When they got out of the water and began changing out of their wetsuits on the beach, they noticed a commotion just outside the line up. He noticed several large dorsal fins moving about erratically. I asked him if they were dolphins and he said absolutely not. He claimed with 100% certainty that they were large sharks. He said he's been surfing for 20 years and by the movement and sheer size they were not dolphins. Then he said how freaky it was to see 3 maybe 4 Great Whites splashing around just outside where he was sitting a few moments earlier. At this point I thought he was full of ‘S**T.’ Whitey's are rare enough in So Cal let alone a group of them together. So I asked how he knew they were Whites. Using his hands he demonstrated how large the dorsal fin was of one of the sharks. Then the ‘coup de grâce’ was his conviction in describing how big the thing was. He said the largest shark surfaced to a point where a good portion of its body was above the surface of the water. He claims that the thing was as big as a small car. Take this story for what it's worth. I have no proof of it, but as hard of a story it may be to believe, I really don't think the guy was lying. I bet he'd pass a lie detector test on this one. Freaky.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Carpenteria On October 22, 2008 Peter Greene reported the following; “I was paddling my surfboard for exercise near Padaro Lane, Carpenteria, South of Santa Barbara, when I observed a small blue shark. I kept paddling and after about another 80 yards or so I saw a much larger shark inside of me as I was paddling the surf line. This shark had a ragged trailing edge on its dorsal fin, which caught my eye since I had been a commercial fisherman for many years and have seen many sharks. It passed through the surf heading straight out and was leaving a ‘V’ wake as it slowly went perpendicular to the beach. I was on the beach at this point as I had been so close to the shark I took the next wave in. I saw a Harbor Seal floating high in the water on its side unlike the normal position of just the head sticking up looking around. It was looking over at me as if to acknowledge that it had seen the shark too. The shark stayed on the surface as it ventured off shore after being in waist to chest deep water. It was 4 – 4.5 feet between the dorsal fin and tail leaving a nice ‘V’ wake.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Blacks Beach October 22, 2008 Marcus at Surfline reports that Gallen “found a large seal carcass with bite marks on the shore at Blacks Beach near La Jolla in San Diego County.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Hermosa Beach On October 20, 2008 Hayden Mauk and a companion were surfing off Hermosa Beach. He entered the water at 7:45 AM and was the only surfer South of the pier until his companion arrived sometime later. It was overcast with the air and water temperatures in the lower to mid-60s. Mauk recalled; “I was surfing about 40 yards South of the Hermosa Beach pier when I noticed a big lump laying under the pier on the beach. I told my buddy it looked like a dead Sea lion or dolphin from where we were sitting in the water. We had noticed something larger out towards the end of the pier but thought it was another Sea lion or dolphin since we see them almost every morning. After about an hour in the water and seeing numerous people stop to check out the lump we decided we would check it out on our way back to the cars. It was now about 9:15 AM. Under the pier was a dead Sea lion, about 41/2 foot long and I would estimate, 250 – 300 pounds, with a huge bite taken out of it. The bite was from the lower belly to just above the rear flippers. It had a clear bite mark 15 – 17 inches in diameter, with the underside of the Sea lion still bleeding. It must have been kind of fresh since there was still blood dripping out of it. However we had been in the water for about an hour or so it could have happened several hours earlier. Now that I think about it that big black dolphin/Sea lion that we periodically saw out near the pier, could have been a shark....it was darker than a dolphin but looked more sea lion in color." Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Newport Beach On October 13, 2008 Tom Cupp was surfing near the Newport Beach River Jetties at Newport Beach. It was 5:30 PM with a clear sky and moderate Santa Ana winds. Cupp reported the following: “I was surfing and sitting very close to shore waiting for the next set and a seal swam in front of me, maybe 75 yards out from my location jumping in and out of the water like it was being chased. It was heading North about 100 yards then it tried to get out of the water, but a man was standing on the shore. The seal looked at the man for a minute or two then decided to swim South. I saw the seal’s head surface in front of me three times and again it was about 75 yards beyond me. Trailing the seal by about 50 yards I saw a triangular shaped fin that was 18 inches above water. It submerged after a couple of seconds but I got a good look at the fin and it was a shark. There was also a dead dolphin on shore but it did not appear to have any bite marks on it." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On October 13, 2008 Ryan Sincic was surfing at Ocean Beach, San Francisco. It was 11:00 AM and the sky was clear and the ocean calm. He had been on the water about one hour. One marine mammal was observed prior to the encounter. Sincic recounted the following; “While surfing outside the break, about 50-70 meters from shore, I saw a very large black fin with a white base come up above the water level. It moved horizontally along the water for 2-3 seconds and then disappeared. It came very high out of the water as well, higher then dolphins normally do. The fin was probably less then 15 meters from me, so I got a really good look at it including the details of the markings. My first reaction was ‘that was the biggest dolphin I have ever seen,’ my second thought was ‘wait that was way too big to be a dolphin.’ I continued to watch the fin to see if would surface again. It did not. I went online to see videos of dolphins and Great White Sharks to compare, and the size and markings on this fin resembled the inferior side of a pelvic fin of a very large Great White Shark. If I had to estimate the size of the fish I saw I would say definitely more than 10 feet. I swam in toward shore near a group of surfers, one of which also saw the fin as well and said it was very dark and very large.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Hayward Regional Shoreline On October 11, 2008 Heather Markert was walking along the shore at Hayward Regional Shoreline in San Francisco Bay at 10:45 AM. She was looking for a suitable launch location for her kayak. The sky was cloudy with an air temperature of about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Markert recounted; “I was walking along the shore of a small cove, looking for suitable kayak put-in places when I heard a splashing noise. About ten feet away, in the center of the cove, I saw what was definitely a shark thrashing around and ripping at something. I watched it for a couple of minutes until it went underwater. The shark appeared to be 2 – 3 feet in length and by process of elimination I believe it was either a; Soupfin, Grey Smoothhound or Spiny Dogfish Shark.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Linda Mar Beach On October 6, 2008 Jon D. was surfing at Linda Mar Beach between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay. He reported the following: “I was surfing Linda Mar on the North end at around 9:30 AM last Monday. The surf was about 3 – 5 feet on the sets and conditions were not ideal, by that I mean junky barely fun. As I was keeping my eyes on the outside for potential sets, I saw what appeared to be a large fish breach at least 300 – 400 yards out, maybe as far out as the point on the South side of the beach, and in front of the bathrooms. I would guess the fish was 10 – 12 feet in length. I've been surfing for ten years in the area and have seen hundreds of dolphins and whales. From my experience, you can usually see these mammals resurface. However, in this case, it was a one time event. When it jumped, it went straight up, twisted a little, and landed on its tail and side. Its back appeared to be almost black, but as it twisted around 180 degrees its underbelly was bright white. I couldn't tell if it was feeding on something because it occurred so far out.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Imperial Beach/Tijuana Slough On September 28, 2008 Thadeau Martins was jogging in South Imperial Beach near the Tijuana Slough in San Diego County. It was sunny with an approaching marine layer at 4 – 5 PM and a low, but slowly rising tide. The wind was NW at about 15 knots. Martins filed the following report; “While jogging I came upon two pinniped carcasses, about 25 yards apart. The first appeared to be a large bull of some type, possibly a sea lion but very large (about 8 feet long and 300 – 400 lbs). Not sure if it was a sea lion because it had been decapitated. The second carcass was a much smaller sea lion (had ears) and was about 5 feet long and 130 lbs. It was intact except for the decomposed fur, but appeared to have a big bite wound underneath it on its belly. Both animals were on the beach in front of the northern inside reef at Tijuana Sloughs. In the water over the northern inside section of reef there was a large flock of seabirds (various species) diving and feeding in a frenzied manner. The flocks were focused on a small area of water, with almost no feeding on the rest of the reef. They were feeding on a school of fish, maybe mackerel, which you could see jumping around. I have observed carcasses many times in the past with triangular teeth marks arranged in a shape consistent with the row of teeth from a large white shark. It appeared like the seals had been hit and made it to shore only to bleed to death. I have also observed 2 or 3 carcasses that had been decapitated or were missing half their bodies before this incident as well. It seems to happen around this time of year. This season I have seen two, not including the current two, and one had an obvious shark bite.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Malibu On September 21, 2008 Gina S. and her husband were walking along the beach below the RV Park located between Pepperdine University and Paradise Cove near Malibu. It was about 5 PM with a sunny sky and a slight breeze. Gina reported; “While walking along the beach my husband and I observed 3 sea lions 30 – 40 yards from shore with a small pod of dolphins about 20 yards to the East of the sea lions. The dolphins seemed to be remaining in the same location possibly feeding. There was one lone sea lion at the surface about 30 yards South of the others. While looking at the lone sea lion suddenly the huge head of a Great White Shark surfaced next to the seal and took a large bite out of the animal. The shark was dark grey and at least 10 – 12 feet in length with a dorsal fin 12 – 16 inches high. The attack occurred just beyond the forming waves and lasted only a minute or less. Following the initial bite, there was a lot of splashing and then all went quite. Sea gulls began diving on the attack site as if they were feeding. The shark submerged and neither the shark nor the bitten sea lion were observed again.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On September 19, 2008 Evan Kinkel was surfing at Ocean Beach near Sloat Blvd., San Francisco. It was 9:30 AM with a sunny sky and light winds with a 3 – 4 foot South swell. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 70 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. Kinkel reported; “I had been in the water about 45 minutes prior to a large fishing boat passing North of my location just outside the breakers. Seagulls circled and dove behind the boat and you could certainly see the chum that they were after. The thought did occur to me that seagulls wouldn't be the only marine life these fishermen were attracting. Not five minutes later a 10 – 12 foot White Shark was thrashing just outside the line up and I wasn't the only one to notice. Myself and some others paddled in while others chose to remain in the water, the waves were good so I suppose they where willing to risk it. I also alerted my sighting to surfers on the beach about to head out.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Solana Beach On September 17, 2008 Jack Hanlon and two companions were surfing at Solana Beach near Del Mar. It was about 6:30 PM and they had been on the water about one hour. A pod of dolphins were observed in the area about 30 minutes prior to the encounter. The sky was overcast with a “choppy” sea surface. The ocean floor was sandy, 5 – 10 feet deep, with 3 – 5 feet of water visibility. Hanlon recounted: “The shark was dark in color, 4 – 5 feet in length and paid no attention to me or my two friends when it swam under us while waiting for a wave.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On September 15, 2008 Morgan Weber was surfing just north of Sloat Blvd. at Ocean Beach, San Francisco. It was about 6:40 PM and he had been on the water 30 – 45 minutes. It was nearly sunset and foggy with no wind and a rising moon. The sea surface had a slight wind chop with 3 – 4 foot swells. The ocean floor is primarily sand at this location and was 6 – 16 feet deep with 10 – 15 feet of water visibility. Dolphins were observed prior to his entering the water. Weber recalled; “I was surfing, waiting for waves, and saw the shark fin about 100 – 150 yards away for about 3 seconds, move about 10 – 15 feet through the water. The dorsal fin was 12 – 18 inches high. I saw it and began swimming towards the shore and yelling at my friend ‘Shark, get out of the water!’ When I looked back to try and spot where the shark was to keep an eye on it while I paddled in, I couldn't see it through the swells/waves. We got out of the water and watched for another 5 – 10 minutes to see if it came back or attacked any of the other surfers that wouldn't get out of the water.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On September 14, 2008 Sean Gibson was surfing near Sloat Blvd.at Ocean Beach, San Francisco. It was 9:30 AM and he had been on the water about 45 minutes. The sky was overcast with air and water temperatures estimated at 60 and 58 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. The ocean was calm with 2 – 3 foot swells over a sandy bottom 10 feet deep with water visibility 6 – 8 feet. Gibson recalled; “I was sitting on surfboard. I observed a 12 – 14 inch high triangular gray fin, at first sitting still in the water about 50 feet from me. It was outside the surf lineup, beyond the breakers, about 100 yards off the beach. I lost sight of it, for a few seconds then saw it again swimming in a tight circle about the same distance from me. I did not see the shark's body. I thought I saw the tail fin cut the surface about 4 – 5 feet behind the dorsal fin, but I was focused on the dorsal fin so I'm not sure. The shark did not approach. I paddled about 15 feet to the south. There were dozens of other surfers in the water and no one reacted. I spoke out loud that I saw a shark but nobody reacted so I let it be. I stayed in the water. After about 20 minutes, about 300 yards offshore I saw what appeared to be a large sea lion being thrown/jumping about 5 times. Then birds started circling and diving. I’m not sure if that was an attack or a seal feeding.” The behavior of the birds is indicative of a predatory attack on a pinniped by a White Shark. Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Surf Beach On September 7, 2008 a surfer, Kyle K., had his board bitten at Surf Beach, which is located near Lompoc not far from Highway 1 and 240 where the road ends at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Northern Santa Barbara County. In an update interview from September 23, 2008 Kyle reported the following; “It was about 10:30 AM and I had been alone on the water for about 30 minutes. The sky was overcast and the ocean glassy calm with ‘shoulder high’ swells. When entering the water I observed a lone seal close inshore. After entering the water I was about 50 yards from the beach. While sitting on my board a pod of 10 – 15 dolphins swam right through my area heading from North to South. The dolphins were jumping out of the water as I have frequently observed when surfing. About a minute later I was hit from the back (tail of board) and lifted slowly out of the water as the shark pushed me 1 – 2 feet forward. I slid off the left side of my board as the shark pushed my board forward. The shark came to the surface with my board in its mouth. It was on my right and so close to me that I could see its eye roll back in the socket as it kept pushing and biting my board. The sensory pores on the underside of the snout were visible as I started to swim backwards while facing the shark. It began to thrash wildly in the water and I was struck by its tail as it descended out of sight. The Great White Shark was 10 – 12 feet in length and light grey in color. I swam to my board, which was now 15 – 20 feet away, climbed on and paddled to shore. This is the third shark I’ve seen from this location and second in the last month.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Strands Cove On September 7, 2008 Julian Ford, Dave Weems and Rob Eakle went surfing at Strands Cove, located 1 mile North of Dana Point and 1 mile South of Salt Creek near Laguna Beach. The following is a report from Ford; “We went surfing at Strands Cove on Sunday, September 7, 2008 at about 6:30 AM. It was foggy and kind of flat, with very glassy water, no one on the beach at all. I was the first one out and had been in the water about 15 minutes. I was sitting on my board and Dave looked at me from the beach and pointed behind me and yelled ‘I saw something behind you!’ As I turned around whatever it was left the glassy water swirling as I paddled closer to the rocks and tried to forget about it I noticed a large dark shadow swim by me but I just sat still and tried to forget about it. Then a few minutes later Rob and Dave came in the water we surfed for about 45 min. Then some early morning walkers (3 moms) were walking right along the shore in front of us on the beach and we heard a scream! Then we noticed they were looking at a very large Seal that was beached Dave and I went to investigate it, it's face was bitten off and it looked like it's lower body was bitten off! Needless to say we paddled back out for a little bit and then called it day." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On September 7, 2008 Ross Psyhogios and an unidentified companion were surfing at Ocean Beach, San Francisco near Stairwell 17. It was 11:00 AM and he had been in the water about 20 minutes. There was a light fog with a cloudy sky. Air and water temperatures were estimated in the 60’s and 50’s Fahrenheit respectively. The surf was ‘crumbly’ with inconsistent waves in the 3 – 4 foot range. The water was about 10 feet deep with 3 feet of visibility. There were two dolphins observed swimming in a southerly direction 100 yards from his location. Psyhogios reported; “I had just swam back out into the lineup when I saw a dark gray dorsal fin, 2 – 3 feet high, surface approximately 20 yards to my right just outside the lineup. It was difficult to tell the body length of the shark, but I would estimate 10 feet or so. The fin was moving southbound and surfaced briefly for a few seconds before slowly receding back into the water. At first my surfing partner and I thought nothing of it, but less than a minute later, the dorsal fin resurfaced this time heading towards the lineup before it slipped underneath the surface of the water. That was my last sighting of the shark.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Bolsa Chica State Beach On September 6, 2008 Mike Reddick observed the following just South of the Bolsa Chica River Jetty. It was 9:00 – 10:00 AM under a clear sky with air and water temperatures estimated to be 80 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. Reddick reported; “About 400 yards from shore out side of the break zone, I observed a shark, 10 feet plus, splashing at the surface. It appeared to be feeding on something. The shark looked like a Great White, with a large head and tail splashing. Birds in the area started diving into the feeding area. The shark was also observed by 2 or 3 surfers in the River Jetty.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Mad River On September 5, 2008 Matt J. reported; “I thought you might be interested in some pictures I took today at Mad River Beach in Arcata, California. This shark was found washed ashore, with no obvious injuries or causes of death. The shark’s eyes were being eaten by gulls when we stumbled upon it, but the rest of the animal looked unblemished. No hooks, fishing lines, prop cuts, etc. As for weather, the last few days have been very windy causing water temperatures to dip between 50-48 Fahrenheit and generated lots of short interval, white-capped swells 4 – 6 feet. I'm not sure if that would have played a role in this sharks death but it seemed worthy of mention. I wish I could have known who to turn the specimen over to, but there are no park rangers that patrol this stretch of beach so photos are the best I can do.” The shark appears to be a juvenile Salmon Shark, (Lamna ditropis). Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Newport Beach On September 1, 2008 Scott Hubbard was body surfing with several unidentified friends near Chair 6, Island Avenue, Balboa Peninsula, in Newport Beach. It was 5:00 PM and he had been in the water about 1 hour. The sky was clear with a 5 – 10 knot off-shore breeze and an estimated air temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean floor was primarily sand and 7 – 10 feet deep with 2 – 3 feet of visibility and a temperature of 62 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The surf was running 3 – 5 feet, waist high, with occasional chest high waves. Hubbard recalled; “I had just returned into the line-up after riding a wave to the shore. I was approximately 30 – 40 yards off shore swimming at a slow, controlled pace. After cresting over the top of a set wave, I noticed a black dorsal fin, 2 feet high, directly in front of my location 30 yards away. The dorsal fin was very damaged in appearance. I was only able to see the dorsal fin, not the actual body. I surf and swim daily and have seen hundreds of dolphins/dolphin dorsal fins while in the water. This was not the typical dolphin sighting. Without hesitation, I alerted my friends in the area and we quickly headed for the beach. Again, I am not positive about this, but I am confident that this was in fact a shark.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On September 1, 2008 Michael Sullivan observed the following, which was reported today; "This email is in regards to the shark sighting on August 29th by Pete Maris South of Sloat Avenue. It may be important to note that a large sea lion washed up headless just south of Sloat Avenue. I noticed it yesterday, Monday, Sept 1st at 3:00 PM, on the rocks underneath the parking area." Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Marina Beach On August 31, 2008 Steven Huang observed the following: “Yesterday while strolling on the beach at Marina Beach near Monterey, California, I saw a small fin about 30 feet from the end of the water. It swam parallel along the beach until it got swept up the beach by a large wave. It looked like a miniature great white shark and it was approximately 2 – 3 feet long. It was dark grey on top with white underside that is clearly delineated. The wide-gaping moth had a full set of teeth. The shark thrashed about every time the waves washed upon it. After a minute or two, someone dragged it by the tail back into the water, all while it was thrashing and biting. It then disappeared into the surf.” The shark appears to be a juvenile Shortfin Mako, (Isurus oxyrinchus). Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Oswald West State Park, OR On August 30, 2008 Jaron Brown reported the following: “This is probably too nebulous of a ‘sighting’ to be of any use, but people may be interested in knowing there is, or was last Labor day weekend - Saturday the 30th specifically, a sea lion carcass, which was missing its head, on the beach at Oswald West State Park, aka Smuggler's Cove, Oregon. It was washed up to the high tide line and looked pretty old and swollen from the decaying process. I am not too sure what, other than a shark, would remove the head.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On August 29, 2008 Peter Maris was surfing at Ocean Beach, San Francisco, a little South of Sloat Avenue at 8:30 AM. Maris reported the following; “There was a dense fog with the air temperature in the low 60’s Fahrenheit and water temperature in the high 50’s Fahrenheit. The surf was chest to head high. I had just caught a wave and was in the process of paddling back out when I spotted a large dorsal fin of a shark approximately 40 yards from my position and 100 yards off shore. I would estimate the height of the fin at about 3 feet with a dark gray color. I saw a bit of the shark’s back and the color was also dark gray. The shark was cruising from the South to the North just beyond the impact zone. It is hard to estimate the shark’s length but my sense was that it was 10+ feet in length.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On August 27, 2008 Hunter Claxton was surfing at Ocean Beach at approximately 5 PM. He reported the following; “I paddled out at Ocean Beach, San Francisco, at around 4 PM with a friend. Both of us were on stand-up paddle boards. I was on a 9'3" board with a carbon paddle. After about an hour I was 20 yards or so outside the line-up just paddling around as I watched a group of porpoises further South that seemed to be feeding on a large grouping of fish. I glanced down into the water and saw a large shark approximately 10+ feet in length pass under my board at a depth of about five feet. The shark was swimming South towards the porpoises and fish. It came to the surface 30 yards past me and I saw the dorsal fin, which was 2 – 3 feet high, and most of the back coming out of water. The shark was dark gray in color on top and appeared from its shape and size to be a Great White Shark. I almost immediately headed back to shore and let the few surfers in my vicinity know what I had seen. My buddy was a few hundred yards south of me but did not see the shark.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Redondo Beach On August 27, 2008 Cory Kupke was surfing at the Topaz Jetty in Redondo Beach. It was 2:25 PM and he had been in the water about one hour. He had surfed earlier in the day prior to work but returned to the beach about 1:30 PM. The ocean had been glassy at 8:00 AM but a slight wind chop had developed by early afternoon with the swell 2 – 3 feet out of the South and a water temperature of 60 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a thick marine layer with an air temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Water visibility was good with the depth 8 – 10 feet at his location. Rick Kupke reported the following; “My son Cory was surfing next to the Topaz Jetty in Redondo Beach this morning before work. The waves were fun so he went back for a second session after work in the afternoon. After losing his board on a wave he swam in to find it resting on the beach next to a dead Sea Lion which had its head cleanly bitten off. He paddled back out but decided to leave the water when he realized every wave was washing the Sea Lion's ‘fluids’ back into the water creating an ‘Instant Chum Line’ right to the spot he was surfing. He was in the same location earlier in the day and the beach was clear, so the Sea Lion must have washed up between the time he left the beach for work at 9:00 AM and came back to surf again at about 1:30 PM.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Bolsa Chica State Beach On August 26, 2008 Karri Lewis reported the following; “My husband, Jim Lewis, and his friend were swimming (training for a triathlon) this morning at about 7:45 AM when they saw something really large and dark swimming under them. My husband said it was probably 15 feet long and a foot and a half to 2 feet wide. The friend saw it and a surfer who jumped on top of his board saw it and yelled, 'What was that?' Jim and his friend swam quickly back to shore. They were not positive of what it was.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Stinson Beach On August 24, 2008 SurfPulse.com reported; “The waters off Stinson Beach were closed to swimmers and surfers until sunset on Friday, August 29th. A surfer who previously worked as a National Park Service lifeguard spotted a shark, 8 – 10 feet in length, about 125 yards from shore around 7:00 PM. National Park spokesman Rich Weideman said the shark was possibly a Great White Shark was observed North of the beach main lifeguard tower.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Marina Del Rey On August 20, 2008 several Los Angeles area television stations reported large schools of Leopard Sharks (Triakis semifasciata) off the beaches at Venice and Marina Del Rey. The sharks appeared to be from 2 – 6 feet in length and are not considered a threat to humans. Swimmers reported that the sharks showed no fear and would swim right up to them in the surf. The sharks usually prey upon crustacean and fish, which are plentiful this time of year. This gathering is an annual event in Southern California, with some organizations providing guided tours for several specific locations. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Sunset On August 16, 2008 Peter Miller reported the following; "I was on my paddle board South of Will Rogers Headquarters this morning heading in a Southerly direction. There was a breach out side approximately 100 yards out. I definitely caught the shape of an upright dorsal with rough edges on the rear, which looked like a shark fin. The size of the fin looked like a medium sized White or Short Finned Mako, maybe 2 – 3 feet high. It was the ragged edge to the rear which caught my eye and its color was more of a lighter grey compared to a dolphin, however, I did not see the belly. I waited for the typical dolphin relief-re-surface which never came. Now there is no question it was a shark." A ragged trailing edge of a dorsal fin 2 – 3 feet high is more characteristic of a White Shark than a Mako. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Sunset On August 16, 2008 Adrienne Salick was surfing at Sunset. The following day she reported; “I read the account from the person who had seen the splash while surfing at Sunset yesterday and thought I'd add to it, since I actually saw the shark. My friend Megan and I got in the water around 7 AM. We had been surfing for about an hour, probably a little more, and were between the point and the stairs, closer to the point. It was overcast, pretty glassy, and the light was such that there was a glare making it more difficult to decipher when a wave was forming. We were chatting and generally enjoying the morning, both keeping a steady eye on the horizon to watch for approaching waves. What I saw next took place rather quickly and took my mind a few seconds to process. At first, I thought I was seeing a dolphin jump clear out of the water, as I often do. I let out an appreciative, "Whoa!" This was quickly followed by a "What the #@!&%$ was that?!" as my subconscious mind replayed the image and started doing the math before my conscious mind could catch up. Too big to be a dolphin, a white underbelly; a bright white underbelly, that was illuminated by the glare of the sun through the overcast sky. Side fins and a rounded off head - NOT a pointed bottle nose. A huge splash as it landed on its side/back. A quick conference with Megan and the nearby man - yep, we all saw the same thing. That was NOT a dolphin. But we couldn't actually utter the name of the fish we all knew it must be. That was it. It didn't take us long to start paddling to shallower water, more on the inside, gathering a crew of like-minded surfers who had either seen the shark, seen the splash, or acted in response to the palpable fear in the air. A mass exodus from that part of the break, but strangely, not out of the water. We stayed in for at least another 40 minutes, admittedly with our feet on deck and our eyes fearfully scanning for fins and large masses beneath our boards. Lots of nervous and excited chatter - it was quite the bonding experience - followed by jokes about how if we were in the audience of a movie depicting this very scene, we'd be yelling at those stupid surfers to get the hell out of the water! Part of me thought it couldn't have been a shark it had to be a whale - that's the part that let me stay in the water. But the other part of me, the smarter, more instinctual one, the same one who has seen those videos of sharks jumping out of the water with seals in their jaws, knew what I had seen. I have to admit that I am not great at estimating length, but I would say the shark was more than 10 feet in length for certain, given that it appeared to be significantly bigger than a dolphin, but I would say it was less than 14 feet in length.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Sunset On August 16, 2008 Scott at SunsetSurf.com received the following report from Ian McCullen; “Today around 8:15 AM, just south of the point at Sunset near Gladstones, there were 10 – 12 other surfers witnessed a white shark breach. I myself only saw the whitewash ripples from the shark's reentry. It was described by others as breaching the surface and turning over showing its white under belly. Everyone said it was large, approximately 10 – 12 feet in length. All the surfers stayed in the water but away from that part of the break.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Sunset On August 15, 2008 Scott at SunsetSurf.com received the following report from Ben Kopke; “My wife, a friend and I were out at Sunset (near Gladstone's) around 6:45 this morning and surfed for about an hour. We stayed close to the point, maybe a third of the way towards the stairs. There were fish jumping when we paddled out, and around 7:15 AM a dolphin-sized shark breached about a hundred yards outside the lineup. It was definitely not a dolphin; the tail fin was vertical. The belly (which was turned towards us) was white. I can't really describe it much further as it was only out of the water for a split second and never reappeared. Of the three of us I'm the only one who actually saw it midair, the others only saw the splash. We stayed in the water for about thirty more minutes and didn't see anything else. There were no dolphins in the area that we could see. It's possible that the sighting today just put sharks on our brains, but we did also see a fin yesterday around the same time and place. Two dolphins appeared not long after so we wrote it off, but the fin didn't appear to be very dolphin-like.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Half Moon Bay On August 10, 2008 Jed Siacor was paddling his 12 ft surfboard near the Princeton Jetty, Half Moon Bay. It was 7 – 8 AM and he had been on the water about 5 minutes. The sky was overcast with air and water temperatures estimated in the upper 50s. The ocean was glassy and calm with water depth and visibility 3 – 5 feet. There was a sea lion carcass on the beach just above the waterline. Siacor recalled; “I was paddling out, approximate 10 yards from shore, at high tide and spotted an animal traveling at the surface facing seaward and swimming lethargically. I noted and paddled back towards shore and spoke to the other surfer out there with me about it. He mentioned he thought he saw the shark earlier. I came ashore and spoke to my friend about it. He had spotted the shark from the shore. I paddled back out and did not see it again. The shark was about 3 feet long, dark coloring on top and white on bottom. It was similar in shape to Great White, Mako, or Salmon Shark. I think it might have been a Salmon Shark.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On August 6, 2008 Matt at SurfPulse.com forwarded the following report: Mike Anable, Evan, and Melissa, were surfing Ocean Beach near Pacheco Street, San Francisco. Anable recalled; “It was about 12:30 PM when Evan and I observed the dorsal fin of a shark, 10 – 15 feet in length, about 75 yards from our location in the line-up. The dorsal fin was about 2 ½ feet high. After seeing the size of the shark’s dorsal fin I told Evan I was going in and he came along too. I was kind of freaking out. I have never seen a fin that big. It was triangular and large which clearly got me and Evan moving. It was me, my roommate Evan, and my co-worker Melissa, surfing in the area. Melissa did not witness the fin. We walked up and down the beach to notify other surfers but the conditions were so poor that we were the only ones out in that area. We only saw a couple of land fisherman. I did not ask what kind of bait they were using.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Malibu On August 1, 2008 Josh Blanchard was surfing with three unidentified surfers, 350 feet from shore at Sunset near Gladstone’s. It was 1:15 PM and the sky was clear. Blanchard recalled; “Myself and three other surfers witnessed a shark, 10 – 12 feet in length, fully breach at least 3 feet out of the water in a straight up position, flap its tail a few times, and land down on its back. It appeared to be feeding on something. This happened twice within an hour. Another one of the witnesses said he thought it may have been a hammerhead. I suspect it was a white shark. All three of us exited the water.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre Old Man's On July 28, 2008 Sharla reported the following to Marcus at Surfline.com; “I was out surfing San O, way outside at Old Man’s this AM, around 7:30, when a 6 – 8 foot shark, looked like a Great White, decided to pop up and make a turn for us. There were several other people in the water who also saw the shark. Not wanting to be on the menu, I decided to go ashore. I reported the encounter to the lifeguards as well. I surf San O very regularly and this was the first time I have seen a shark so close to the surfers. One of the other gals out there said she had felt something brush by her earlier and that was enough for me.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre Old Man's On July 28, 2008 Allan Gillies reported the following to Marcus at Surfline.com; “At approximately 7:15 AM today several people saw a shark’s tail fin break the water’s surface while sitting in the outside line up of the San Onofre Old Man’s break. The shark was within 25 feet of the closest person. No one saw what the shark was chasing. I had just ridden a wave to the inside so I didn’t see the shark myself, but when I paddled back out there were at least 5 people talking about what they had just seen. There were two guys that estimated the length of the shark to be 5 – 6 feet. After they saw the tail fin break the surface the shark disappeared. I stayed in the water another hour and a half without another sighting. There were approximately 7 – 10 people who decided to exit the water following the sighting.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Channel On July 23, 2008 Bill Davidson
was aboard a 42 foot Grand Banks vessel 10 miles off the coast of
Long Beach. It was 11 AM the sky was clear and the water calm. Air
and water temperatures were recorded at 74 and 69 degrees Fahrenheit
respectively. Water visibility was 50 – 60 feet. Davidson
reported; “While returning to Long Beach we came upon
a white shark, 13 – 14 feet in length. It swam right along
side the bow of Pegasus for 10 minutes just like we were not there.
I’ve attached a photograph for your files.” Please
report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research
Playa Del Rey On July 21, 2008 Michael Gomes was swimming at Playa Del Rey near Culver Blvd and the entrance to Marina Del Rey. It was about 4:30 PM, the sea was calm, and the sky clear. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 70 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. The water was 12 – 15 feet deep over a sandy ocean floor. Gomes reported observing “a black, triangular dorsal fin 12 – 15 inches above the water with a smaller tail fin about 4 feet away.” He noted there was another individual in the area, who also observed the fin, but was not identified. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Malibu On July 19, 2008 Kathy White, and an unidentified companion, were diving at Nicholas Canyon near Malibu. It was 9:30 AM and they had been in the water about 20 minutes. They were about 100 yards from shore in water 35 – 40 feet deep with visibility of 10 – 15 feet and the ocean floor primarily a small reef like structure. There were numerous fish in the area as well as a substantial amount of kelp. Air and water temperatures were recorded at 60 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. White reported; “I was diving, swimming towards by buddy when I looked to my right and noticed a large "fish" right next to me. I realized in a few seconds that it was a blue shark, 4 – 5 feet in length. It swam with me for a bit, until I exhaled, and then it swam right over to my buddy. We saw it, or other sharks, 4 times within our 63 minute dive. The sharks hung around us and even followed us at times. My buddy saw 3 sharks together and I saw a baby shark, approximately 2 feet long. I stayed calm and the shark did not seem afraid of us. It was very exciting and it was such a beautiful blue!” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Brookings, OR On July 17, 2008 Matt from SurfPulse.com reported the following; “Clinton Z. Strayhorn reported many people observing a large shark maul a sea lion at Sport Haven Beach in Brookings, Oregon today. The attack occurred in approximately one foot of water. The shark was reportedly 10 – 14 feet length. Onlookers said that pieces of the sea lion that the shark was eating landed on the beach. No surfing for me for a while.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Huntington Beach On July 14, 2008 Grant Crawley reported the following; “At about 4:30 PM my son and I were walking along the shore at Huntington State Beach between Newland and Magnolia when we noticed what looked like a large piece, over 6 feet in length, of driftwood bobbing in the ocean, about 20 yards from shore. The object floated from North to South towards Magnolia. It washed up on shore just south of Lifeguard Tower 11. When we investigated it turned out to be a large sea lion, with its head completely bitten off. The wound still had blood trickling out.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Montara Beach On July 13, 2008 Jay Walker and an unidentified companion were fishing from Walker’s 25 foot Davis boat off Montara Beach, Half Moon Bay. It was 1:30 PM and the ocean was calm with an overcast sky and no wind. The water was 40 feet deep with about 8 feet of visibility. Walker reported; “We were rock fishing 300 yards off shore from Fitzgerald game preserve just South of the Montara lighthouse. My fishing gear was stuck on the bottom, I finally got free pulling up a sea star and the shark followed it up to the boat. The shark came within 2 feet of the stern and turned away and swam off after seeing us. It was black on top, white underside and was 10 – 12 feet in length with a huge girth.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Channel Islands On July 12, 2008 Ari Young experienced the following; “I was kayak fishing out of Channel Islands, Oxnard, and decided to paddle to the Channel Islands artificial reef two miles West of the Channel Islands Harbor entrance. There was a red tide on the inside to about 1/4 mile out. The water cleared up on the outside. I noticed many seals and came upon a pair that appeared to be mating. I thought what an easy prey situation that would be for a White Shark. After a successful fishing trip I landed my kayak at a popular launch site about one-half mile from the ocean inside the jetties just South of the US Coast Guard station adjacent to Victoria Avenue between Laurel Court and Panama Drive. It was there, just after the top of the tide, that I noticed a dead sea lion that was missing its head. I've been an avid fisherman for more than 30 years and I can recognize the difference between a sea lion and a harbor seal. The cut looked pretty clean considering there were also about 3 or 4 round lesions six inches in diameter around its body.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Pacific Beach On July 12, 2008 Dominick Volpini reported the following incident to Marcus Sanders at Surfline.com; “While paddle boarding today by Tower 20 in Pacific Beach, near Mission Bay, San Diego, I came across a half eaten dolphin with what looked like a huge chunk bitten out of its flipper. It was still alive when I found it and the other dolphins in the pod formed a protective circle around it. It looked like it could have been possibly attacked by a shark. I notified the lifeguards and the Harbor Master came and checked it out.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Tamarack State Beach On July 7, 2008 Pedro Vasquez and a companion were about 300 feet from shore at Tamarack State Beach, Carlsbad. This was the third encounter experienced by the surfer of 16 days. Vasquez recalled; “On July 7, 2008 I was surfing at Tamarack State Beach by the parking lot. It was a little overcast with 3 foot waves. It was around 8 PM. Another surfer and I, both experienced, were waiting for waves when the other surfer saw a fin10 inches in height come out of the water about 30 feet from us. Since we were the only ones still surfing, and due to my previous encounter several days earlier, I took his word and we both exited the water.” Prior to this Vasquez stated that; “On June 27, 2008 I was surfing at Terramar Beach, Carlsbad. I was waiting for waves, sitting on my board about 300 feet from shore at Terramar Beach. I felt a bump on the tail of my board as I was sitting on my board with the tail down and nose up. Not more than 5 minutes later I saw a 5 – 6 foot shark swim below me. It was sort of black or dark in color. It didn’t swim fast and not slow, almost casually. Since it swam directly under me I was able to get a good look as it past under me. There were no sea lions observed in the area. After that I was done for the day and took the next wave in. It was around 4 – 5 PM with a sunny sky and surf running 2 – 3 feet.” Vasquez reported the following for his first encounter; “On June 21, 2008 I was surfing with a friend at Terramar Beach, Carlsbad. It was 4 – 6 PM and I had been on the water for about 40 minutes with two friends. Suddenly one of my companions fell off her board. When she kicked to get on top of her board she felt something bump into her. The surf was about 3 – 5 feet. I did not take her seriously and we kept surfing for another 30 to 45 minutes before we came in. I told her it might have been seaweed and not to worry, but she said it felt solid. I have been surfing for more than 30 years and I have never seen in North County San Diego, or have been next to someone that has seen a shark or that had bumped against something solid twice in a month, and observed a dorsal fin and had a shark pass underneath.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Huntington Beach On June 30, 2008 the following unconfirmed report was received from Paul of Cerritos, CA. It was 2:30 PM and he had been on the water for 20 minutes. He was surfing Huntington Beach at 17th Street. The ocean was choppy from a brisk wind with inconsistent sets. Paul provided the following information; “There weren’t really any consistent forming waves as had been forecast. This could have been the result of the strong winds. I was paddling out and caught one short ride. I went back out for another wave but then the waters were really choppy. I saw about 20 feet in front of me two fins about 10 ft apart from one another (possibly dorsal and caudal fins). I began contemplating whether it was a dolphin or not. Then upon closer examination I noticed that the fins were sharp with pointed tips and they were swaying left to right instead of up and down like a dolphin. The taller of the two fins was about 1.5 feet in height. Then one of them jerked left, away from me, but was still in my view. After watching this I immediately turned back toward shore and paddled. I don’t think I'm going out if it’s choppy like this again.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Montara State Beach On June 29, 2008 Sean Kearney was surfing with a companion at Gray Whale Cove, Montara State Beach. It was 12 PM and they had been on the water about 15 minutes. It was overcast with the wind “less than 8 knots,” and an air temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit according to Kearney. The water temperature was in the mid-50s Fahrenheit with a depth of 10 – 15 feet and a sandy ocean floor. Water visibility was excellent as the bottom could be seen clearly from the surface. The sets were 3 – 4 feet with a glassy ocean surface. An undetermined number of pinnipeds were observed along the Southern end of the beach. Kearney recounted; “After paddling in to a nice section on the South end of the beach, my friend and I noticed some seal activity near the rocks, this was not unusual. About 15 minutes after entering the water, we both noticed a large triangular dorsal fin break the surface about 20 yards from us and travel horizontally Southbound for 15 seconds. I realized what I had just seen and immediately paddled to shore.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Imperial Beach On June 27, 2008 Jeremy Brower was running along Imperial Beach between 6 – 7 PM. He reported; “I went for an evening run from Imperial Beach Pier to the area around State Beach, about 3/4 of a mile South of Camp Surf. I recognized the carcass of a seal approximately 3 feet long with puncture wounds and missing its lower half. About a mile further, there were four more seal carcasses (all within 50 meters of each other) two large adults and two smaller animals, all with obvious bite marks to either their underbelly or hind flippers. Some looked dead about a week; some looked dead only a day or two. I continued for another mile or so, but didn't see any more. I just thought this was weird for this area to have such a high concentration of dead seals all on the beach at the same time.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Carlsbad Beach On June 27, 2008 Stephen Lux was swimming 100 yards from shore at Carlsbad Beach just North of Tamarack. It was 4:10 PM and he had been in the water about 25 minutes. It was a sunny day with air and water temperatures estimated in the low 70s Fahrenheit and a medium to strong surf. Lux reported; “I was swimming for exercise. I began my swim at the beach in Carlsbad at the foot of Grand Avenue. I went out past the break, about 75 to 100 yards from shore, and swam south toward Tamarack surf park. I reached the northern tip of Tamarack surf park and turned around and started swimming back, north. I was swimming backstroke on my return swim and after about 5 minutes I happened to look to my right, in a southwesterly direction away from shore. I saw a triangular shaped black fin, probably about two feet tall. It was headed somewhat parallel to me, but then veered sharply in my direction and submerged. I only saw it for a matter of seconds before it submerged. I immediately swam to shore as fast as I could. I cannot confirm that this was a shark, obviously, but I am an avid ocean swimmer and have seen dolphins while swimming many times and this fin did seem different...sharper, more triangular, and bigger...extending perhaps two feet out of the water.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On June 24, 2008 Josh Vineyard was walking along the shore of Ocean Beach, San Francisco. It was about 6:00 PM and cloudy. He reported; “I didn’t see the shark, but I did see a large seal, maybe 400 pounds, washed up on shore. Its head had been bitten off.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Terramar Beach On June 22, 2008 Don Persichitti was walking along Terramar Beach in Carlsbad. It was about 5:00 PM with foggy conditions. He reported; “I did not observe a shark, however, I came across a seal carcass missing a head. From what I can tell, it appears to have been bitten off. The carcass is in an unknown state of decomposition but it appeared to have teeth marks approximately 1 inch wide.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Catalina Island On June 21, 2008 Bettina Pereira was kayaking 300 feet from shore at West Cove, Catalina Island. Her husband Andrew remained aboard their boat to fish with their children. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 80 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. It was about 9 AM with a clear sky and a calm sea surface. Pereira was paddling a 12 foot blue kayak over water 50 feet deep with 40 feet of visibility. The bottom dropped off quickly to over 500 feet just beyond her starting location. William Weilbacher was fishing from his boat, which was one of five fishing boats within several hundred yards of Pereira. He provided the following information; “I was in the process of pinning my first squid on the hook when I heard a scream from the direction of the kayak. I looked over and saw the kayak flipping over and the woman going in the water. She was about a hundred yards away. I saw a big splash next to the boat and then saw what I initially thought was an arm waving back and forth and splashing. After about two seconds I realized the 'arm' was actually part of a huge shark tail oriented vertically in the water and it was thrashing back and forth right at the surface. The large dark shape was actually part of the shark sticking out of the water. The portion of the tail I could see looked like it was three feet long. The shark was pushing on the kayak and the woman was on the far side of the kayak holding on and screaming.” Andrew Pereira said “Bettina felt a strong bump to the back of her kayak. It was so hard she thought a boat had run into her. When she turned to look behind, she saw the body of a large shark coming up underneath her kayak. It rose up so quickly that she was thrown from her seating position in the kayak to one of standing upright on her feet, which were on the back of the shark.” Weilbacher continued; “We were anchored so there was nothing we could do in time to be of any use, but there were two other small boats drift fishing. We were closer and I don't know if they couldn't see what was happening as well, or what. We started screaming at them to go help her and that there was a shark and they both went at her at full throttle. I would estimate the size of the Great White Shark to be 15 feet.” Bettina Pereira sustained some bruising but was not cut by the shark during her most shocking encounter. Please use caution when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Laguna Beach On June 21, 2008 Keli Stevens was at the stern of a 6-person outrigger canoe that was 1.5 miles off Laguna Beach. While heading back to Dana Point near Salt Creek she observed a large blue-grey shark following close behind the vessel. A member of a second canoe observed a dorsal fin a few minutes prior to Stevens seeing the animal. When Stevens looked behind she observed the shark and said “He’s coming closer and he’s following me.” Stevens was one of six-crew members aboard the outrigger. The shark’s dorsal fin protruded about 15 inches above the water and was at least 10 inches wide. She watched the fin for a half mile as it followed the vessel at a distance of about 50 yards. When they took a break she gathered the other six vessels that were involved in this regatta. Stevens informed the others of the situation and suggested no one enter the water. Because of this encounter they collectively decided to skip rounding the Red Buoy on their regular 13-mile run. Stevens said she had never seen a Great White Shark this close to shore in the many years she has been utilizing these coastal waters. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Huntington Beach On June 17, 2008 Pat Soriano was surfing at the cliffs in Huntington Beach. It was 9 AM with an overcast sky. Air and water temperatures were estimated to be in the 70s and 60s respectively. He had been in the water about 45 minutes. He observed several dolphins in the area prior to the encounter. Soriano recounted; “I was surfing with some friends at the cliffs when I noticed a fin pop up about 15 – 20 feet from my location. I thought it was a dolphin at first because several had just gone by, but then I realized the fin wasn't round like a dolphin's fin, it was a lot more triangular and sharp. It was a good size too 1 – 1.5 feet in height. It stayed above the surface for about 10 seconds or so and then disappeared.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Bolsa Chica State Beach On June 15, 2008 Aga Kunska and her friend John entered the water to surf near Tower 18 at Bolsa Chica State Beach in the city of Huntington Beach. Kunska reported; “It was 7 or 7:30 AM when we observed, already washed up on shore, a dead seal. I believe it was overcast, water was probably high 60’s, air in the low 70’s or high 60’s Fahrenheit. There was one deep puncture wound on the neck, which was still a little bloody. The other two punctures where on the other side of the body with a few bites on the flippers. There were no other visible signs of injury to either John or myself. The seal was about 3.5 feet long.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Newport Beach On June 15, 2008, Trevor Zimmet at 2 PM was ½ mile off of Big Corona State Beach in Newport Beach. It was sunny with a moderate ocean swell. Zimet reported the following; “I’m a captain with Vessel Assist in Newport Beach and was heading out on a call when I spotted a dead seal pup. As I passed it I noticed that it had some circular pieces, about a foot wide, taken out of its body. I turned around to look at it closer. I got it along side the boat and it was clear as day that it had been hit by a descent size shark. I also noticed some smaller bite marks as well. I expected a foul smell as I got closer, but I did not smell anything and figured that it was relatively fresh.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Barbara On June 9, 2008 Courtney Dohl was walking along East Beach, near Puerto Vallerta and State Street in Santa Barbara. It was about 6 PM. She recounted: “I did not observe a great white shark feeding; however, I found the body of a harbor seal with its head clearly ripped off, with teeth marks. It was a small brown seal, and birds were pecking at it. I would estimate it to be dead about two days. I observed 3 bottlenose dolphins near the beach area where I found the dead harbor seal.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Carlsbad State Beach On June 3, 2008 Scott Ball and Kyle Faust, a professional diver, were spearfishing near Carlsbad State Beach. Ball was wearing a black and grey spring suite, a black 100 cm speargun, a black mask, and a blue snorkel and long blue fins. Water temperature was estimated at 65 degrees Fahrenheit with the depth about 15 feet. The ocean floor was primarily several reefs with open sandy areas between. There was a steady breeze pushing 3 – 5 foot ground swells under a clear blue sky. It was 10:30 AM and they had been in the water about 45 minutes. Ball recounted; “I was near the bottom when I saw something huge coming at me. It was a shadow off in the distance. I surfaced to tell Kyle what I had seen. A few minutes later I dove under to find a large black eye, bigger than my fist, no more than 1 or 2 feet from me. The shark is starring at me when it makes a slow turn to swim away. It was a big shark; the teeth on it were huge and actually visible in the mouth. After a few seconds of this stare down it did almost a casual turn and swam off. The visibility was 8-10' and at one point I couldn't see the head or the tail just the massive girth and body. The top of the shark was a dark grey and the bottom was much lighter in color. When it pushed away with its tail it actually moved me a bit in the water from the force. So now I make the rookie mistake and start ‘booking it’ to shore going ‘oh s--t.’ On my way in, about 30 seconds later, I looked to my left and saw a dorsal fin, 2 – 2.5 feet high, coming directly at me. As it neared me it sank below the surface and swam directly under me. I don’t know how long it was and I’m not going to say it was as wide as a VW, but it was massive in width and length. The last time it came at me was real fast. The shark buzzed me a total of 3 times, so it was very persistent. Once on the beach I noticed a crowd so I walked over and there was a beached sea lion being harassed by 3 or 4 beachgoers. The seal was about 10 feet from the water’s edge but would not go in the water to get away from the harassment. This was a learning experience and a scary one.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Doheny State Beach On June 1, 2008 Captain Chad Steffen, of the whale watching vessel 'Ocean Adventure,' was heading back to port when he observed an adult White Shark. The vessel and its occupants, including a marine biologist, were about two miles off Doheny State Beach, which is 25 – 30 miles North of Solana Beach. It was about 2:30 PM when he observed the shark swimming at the surface off the port side of the vessel. Steffen said he attempted to “turn the vessel around for the spectators to get a better look,” but the shark submerged and was not seen again. The shark was about 15 feet in length. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Oceanside On June 1, 2008 Ruthie Smith and her husband, Scott, were surfing Oceanside, just south of Cassidy Street, about 100 yards from the beach, past the swells at high tide. It was 1 PM and they had been in the water about 30 minutes. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 70 and 66 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. The water depth was about 10 feet with little visibility. The sea surface was choppy from an onshore breeze. Smith recalled; “My husband and I are both San Diego costal natives and have grown up at the beach, in the water. Quite frequently when we are out, we see dolphins. Today I saw something just past the swells. It was grey; similar to the color of dolphins, but NOT moving like a dolphin. I saw the top half of it surface. It was a big hump, kind of like a grey island much bigger than a dolphin's front body half. It cruised for a couple seconds at the surface then went back down. It was NOT typical dolphin-like behavior I've observed in the past. It didn't surf the waves, jump in the air, or even cruise down the coast coming back up for air. It's something I've never seen before and it honestly scared me. I yelled at my husband to go in. We both paddled in and watched for it, but didn't see any more of it.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Huntington Beach On May 30, 2008 Jeff Parravano and a friend, Jason, were surfing at cliffs in Huntington Beach. It was 11 AM and they had been on the water about 45 minutes. The sky was clear and the water calm with 2 – 3 foot waves. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 72 and 62 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. The ocean floor topography was primarily sand with the water about 20 feet deep. Parravano recounted; “I was sitting on my board when I observed a fin about 15 yards SW of my position. The fin rose straight up out of the water to a height of about 2 feet. The shape looked like an isosceles triangle and the color was a gun metal grey/graphite color. It glided along the surface for about 10 seconds and then disappeared straight down. I looked over at my friend Jason who was about 10 feet away from me and he asked if I had seen the fin as well. We both paddled immediately into shore.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Pacific Beach On May 29, 2008 Russell Williams and a companion were spearfishing off Pacific Beach Point in San Diego. It was 6:15 PM and they had been in the water about 30 minutes. Williams was wearing a black wetsuit with a dive belt, yellow fishing bag, grey swim fins, a black speargun, mask and snorkel. The water was 15 – 20 feet deep over a reef and rock formation with eel grass scattered throughout the area. Water and air temperatures were estimated to be 62 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. The sky was clear with a small ocean ground swell. Williams recalled; “I was hunting for Sheepshead, Halibut and bass. I was diving to the bottom looking for fish and staying under for 20 – 30 seconds each time. I would surface, swimming on top of the water to move to different areas. I swam under water, stayed for about thirty seconds and came up. I cleared my snorkel and was getting ready to dive again when I turned around and saw the shark, motionless, 10 – 15 feet from me, and close to the bottom. I immediately pointed my gun at it and slowly kicked away from it. The shark then kicked its tail from side to side and was out of sight. I swam in as fast as I could to the shore and then went back out to alert my friend. It was a very scary situation. The shark was over 10 feet in length, grey on top and white on the bottom. It was very thick and strong looking with big eyes. It was difficult to get a good look at its mouth. I have been diving, surfing and spearfishing almost all my life and have encountered many species of sharks on many occasions and I am 100% sure that this was a Great White Shark.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Del Mar On May 29, 2008 Jenny Beyler reported the following; “My companion and I found a seal carcass on the beach near 11th Street in Del Mar. It had a couple of bites out of it. Its lower end was taken off, showing its spine dangling. Also, one flipper and shoulder was gone. Both looked like pretty clean bites. We reported it to the lifeguards who went and picked up the carcass. We surf this spot often from 9th to 11th Street’s and had noticed there was one solo seal that frequented the area. We'll see if it shows up again, or if it was the victim.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report and shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Del Mar On May 24, 2008 Michael J. Day had an encounter at the little reef South of 9th Street, Del Mar. He reported the following to Marcus at Surfline.com; “I read the shark alert report from Jenny Beyler. I think there probably is a shark in the area because labor day weekend on Saturday morning around 8:30 AM, I was surfing the little reef south of 9th Street, Del Mar. There were maybe three guys that were spread out across a quarter mile. The morning was clear and sunny, the waves small and the water was glassy. I was waiting for a set when I saw 100 – 150 yards in front of me, and to my left, a commotion in the water. I didn¹t see any dolphins but I did see birds diving for fish and I saw what I believe to be a single shark fin. The base of the fin looked to be at least 12-14 inches and protruding out of the water. It was more triangular and lacked the swept back rake a Dolphin fin has. The swimming movement was steady and calculated. I was hoping it was a dolphin but it never submerged and surfaced like dolphins often do. I watched it for about a minute and made sure it wasn¹t coming towards me. Nevertheless, that was enough; I paddled over to the nearest kelp bed and then exited the water. When I was ashore, I watched the fin swimming North to South, back and forth for 5 minutes and then it disappeared.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Del Mar On May 23, 2008 Marcus at SurfLine.com received the following report from JK; "This is a third hand report so take with however many grains of salt, etc, but thought I'd pass along: my son's friend (a longtime Del Mar local and NSSA regular) was out at 11th St. in Del Mar yesterday afternoon with two buddies. He was scratching for an outside bomb when he saw what he estimated as 'at least' a 15-foot shark in the approaching set wave. He said it was by a long ways the largest creature he'd ever seen in the water. While he was bolting for shore, his friend saw an enormous fin and did the same. Their third friend then saw a seal leaping repeatedly, coming completely out of the water, barking, etc and so he headed in as well. A guy standing on the bluffs saw the shark from shore and reportedly informed DM Lifeguards." The Del Mar Lifeguards were not notified of this incident. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Redondo Beach On May 11, 2008 Mark Van Tine was surfing near Topaz Street in Redondo Beach. It was 8:00 AM and he had been on the water for 1.5 hours. The sky was clear and the sea conditions were “pretty calm with maybe a little bump” according to Van Tine. Water and air temperatures were estimated in the mid-60s Fahrenheit. Water depth was about 20 feet over a sandy ocean floor. Dolphins had been observed occasionally throughout the morning. Van Tine reported; “The shark came in towards the Topaz jetty then turned South towards Palos Verdes. I believe it was a small blue shark, maybe five to six feet in length. It came in fast then sort of stopped to check out the surfers then kept going. The encounter didn't last more than a minute or two. I got out shortly thereafter.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Huntington Beach On May 5, 2008 Ryan Roe was surfing near Golden West Street, Huntington Beach. It was 11 AM and he had been on the water 20 minutes. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 68 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The sky was clear and there was an onshore breeze contributing to the slightly choppy conditions with 1 – 2 foot surf. Roe recalled; “I started out in the lineup directly in front of Golden West Street. Then after seeing a few peaks pop up about 50 yards south, I paddled towards them. After taking a few short rides (very crumbly lines) I kept paddling just to get an arm workout and changed my direction north, deciding to cut my session short. When I started paddling north, I noticed the fin break the surface following the same direction that I was traveling, but about 15-20 yards outside of the surf line. The shark stayed high in the waterline for about 20 seconds, and was very smooth in its movement north. Then the shark submerged, and I was on my way to the sand. I first saw the dorsal fin break the surface then I saw the tip of the tail. There was about 4 – 5 feet between the dorsal fin and the tail tip. The coloration was dark gray and its movements were very smooth through the water. The shark was approximately 15 – 20 yards from my spot in the lineup.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Solana Beach On May 4, 2008 Eric reported the following to Surfline; “The Whitey spotted at Table Tops in Solana Beach 40 feet from break outside surfaced on its side, and my friend who surfs their everyday with his brother saw its white under belly. Said it was huge!!! They caught a wave in and reported it to the lifeguards. You can confirm it with them. Tables and Seaside has a new local resident. Be careful.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Bolsa Chica State Beach On May 2, 2008 Patrick Lynch and Anthony DeHerrera were surfing 40 yards from shore near the main tower at Bolsa Chica State Beach. It was 7:30 AM and they had been in the water 45 minutes. The sky was clear and the sea glassy with 4 – 5 foot waves. The water is 12 – 15 feet deep at this location with a sandy ocean bottom. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 68 and 62 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. Lynch recalled; “While waiting for set waves we noticed a large slowly moving boil and then a grey dorsal fin, 8 – 10 inches in height, surface approximately 15 yards away from us. After confirming what we both saw, we then paddled cautiously into the next waves and took them to shore. After reporting this incident to a beach patrol officer he confirmed that he had not seen any dolphins in the area for awhile. We decided to move to a new location about 600 yards to the North. We entered the water and paddled out to about 40 yards from beach. Another surfer was in water with us about 30 yards to the South. While waiting for set waves we saw a large boil 10 – 15 yards North of our location. We decided to exit the water again. Once on the beach the unidentified surfer came up to us and said he saw a shark’s fin as well. Anthony and I have both been surfing and fishing for over 30 years and have a lot of experience in and on the water. This was definitely not a dolphin or a seal.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Tamarack Beach On May 1, 2008 Ken Winfield was on his way to surf Tamarack Beach in Carlsbad. It was 6:15 AM and the sky was overcast. Air and water temperatures were both estimated at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Winfield recounted; “I observed a Great White Shark, 8 – 10 feet in length, in a confrontation with about 8 dolphins while driving my car over the jetties at Tamarack Beach. Water was flying everywhere, I saw at least two baby dolphins depart after the confrontation, which last about 45 seconds. It took place just inside the jetties at Tamarack Beach. There were a lot of dolphins in the area at the time, 50 – 60+. I was told several hours later that about one hour after this incident a shark attacked a Sea Lion pup at Cassidy Street in Oceanside, which is less than one half mile North of the jetties.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Solana Beach On April 25, 2008 Dr. David Martin, a retired veterinarian, was swimming with eight companions of the Triathlon Club of San Diego at 7 AM. They were 100 – 150 yards from shore North of Fletcher Cove, Solana Beach, California. After entering the water they headed North. Rob Hill, a member of the club, was running along the shore and recalled, “His friends saw him come up out of the water, scream, ‘Shark,’ flail his arms and go back under.” Two members of the group swam to his aid and assisted him to the beach. A life guard truck transported the injured swimmer to the Lifeguard station on the bluff that overlooks Fletcher Cove. Paramedics attempts to resuscitate Martin were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at 7:49 AM. Authorities immediately closed a 17 mile stretch of beach. The following information was obtained during the forensic examination of the deceased; “one, small, tooth fragment with 2 serrae, and a second, small, tooth fragment with 3 serrae, were removed from a thigh injury. They are both indicative of lower jaw teeth from a adult White Shark. 'Interspace measurements' of tooth insertion points of the wounds are comparable with those of a 15 – 16 foot White Shark. The shark’s description, tooth fragments, wound dimensions, including 'interspace measurements,' confirm a White Shark, 15 – 16 feet in length, was the causal species of this attack." Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dr. Martin’s family and friends.
Hermosa Beach On April 17, 2008 Jack Coble and a friend were surfing at the 17th Street Break at Hermosa Beach. It was 6:15 PM and they had been on the water about one hour. The sky was clear with an onshore breeze contributing to the choppy sea conditions with wind swell waves about 4 – 5 feet. There was an unusually large amount of kelp in the area. A fisherman was observed on the beach about 150 feet from their location. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 65 and 58 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. Coble recounted; “My buddy and I were out for about an hour. We were surfing the outside set at 17th Street with lots of kelp present and only two other surfers out. There were long lulls between sets and the water was choppy and seemed to be between tides but high. I was on a longboard and my friend on a 6 foot 'fish' shaped board so he was really exposed and would kick both feet and arms to catch waves. I was facing the beach while waiting between sets. I looked to the south and saw about 15 – 20 feet from me a very thin straight dorsal fin that seemed to be blue-grey in color and about 18 inches above the water. It was tracking straight and slow directly towards me. Unlike a dolphin, there was no roundness to the fin or arching to the back. I did not look long enough to see if the tail was also above water, but alerted my friend and we very quickly and not at all casually swam for the shore like little girls. The third surfer down the beach had seen us quickly swim ashore and he later told us that the 'shark' kept its depth, dorsal fin above water and slowly advanced towards him. He took the next wave in and we all watched for the fin or any other sign but neither of us saw it again. We alerted the lifeguard on duty who put a call in after questioning us.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Beach On April 16, 2008 Ken Winfield
took this picture with his cell phone. It is an adult Sea Lion that
he came across at theBeach in front of Cherry Street in Carlsbad.
He also reported that his daughter told him that she saw a dead
Sea Lion on the beach in Encinitas, around J Street on the 24th
of April 2008. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack
to the Shark Research Committee.
Bolsa Chica State Beach On April 10, 2008 Mark Wilson was surfing 80 – 100 yards off Bolsa Chica State Beach at the tower near the entrance. It was 7:45 AM and he had been on the water about one hour with two unidentified surfers. It was sunny with small surf, two to three feet max, and clean conditions. Wilson recalled; “While waiting for a set I observed a triangular dorsal fin moving South about 20 yards further out from my position. The fin was about 12 inches high and grey/brown in color. It was not threatening in any way. I was moving slowly and the shark did not make a move toward me. I went ashore following the encounter.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach, Trail Five On April 7, 2008 Julius Morck was surfing 300 feet from shore at San Onofre, Trail Five. It was 6:30 PM and he had been on the water about 2.5 hours. He estimated air and water temperatures at 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a slight chop on the sea surface under fair skies. Morck recounted; “I saw a dark triangular dorsal fin, 12 – 18 inches in height, cruising about 100 feet out from the break. It appeared to be heading South. Prior to the encounter I had been fairly calm in the water with very little movement.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Huntington Beach On March 26, 2008 Jeff Duncan was surfing on the South side of Huntington Beach Pier. It was 7:15 AM with a bright, sunny sky and a ‘glassy sea surface.’ He had been in the water about 30 minutes. Duncan recounted; “I was sitting watching the horizon, for the next set wave, when I noticed something surface just to my right of view and approx. 20-30 feet away. It took only a moment to realize that it was not a dolphin, whale or other animal…..it was a shark. It slowly surfaced only enough to see its side and dorsal fin. I only saw a large triangular dorsal fin and about 4-5 feet of the shark's dorsal/side, which was a very light gray. The large dorsal fin had a somewhat irregular edge which almost looked damaged in someway, though not seriously It seemed to be swimming north toward the pier and not toward me, but I was the only surfer near the animal at the moment. I noticed a very large boil in the water after the shark submerged. The boil made me think the animal must have been very large, maybe 15 feet or so. I did not see any signs of the shark after this, but after confirming with other surfers that it definitely looked like a shark and that there were other observations of a large shark seen from the parking lot (which I was unaware), I promptly made my way to the beach.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Huntington Beach On March 22, 2008 Matt Moore was walking along the North end of Bolsa Chica at Huntington Beach. It was 7:15 AM with a sunny sky. Moore recalled; “As the waves were small, I decided to go for a beach hike from the north end of Bolsa Chica up to the Sunset Beach jetty. There was a slight offshore breeze, sunny conditions, and relatively clear water. The tide was medium high and several long boarders were struggling to catch a few high tide near shore ‘Decepto’ waves. As I walked across the sand out to the water, I noticed a commotion in the water, several boils pop up and some water being displaced. I saw a small whale surface, spout, thrash, and dive about 50 to 75 yards offshore. It was about 25 feet in length. As I watched it for a few minutes, I noticed it repeating this while moving northward at a slow pace, resurfacing at about 25 yard intervals. I could easily discern the whale tale as it broke the surface, even the somewhat lighter colored, barnacle encrusted nose. The third time it surfaced I noticed a shark swimming right along with it. It had the tell-tale triangular shark dorsal fin, was about 10 feet in length and had a top notched rear tale. It appeared to be pursuing the whale northward. I couldn't tell if the whale was distressed or not, but the shark reappeared several times as the whale moved up the beach. Two other surfers standing nearby briefly discussed the sighting with me, and both agreed that it was a shark. One of the guys even said it looked like there were two sharks out there. I walked up the beach for 1/2 mile or so, watching the whale surface a half dozen more times. At one point the whale came within 10 yards of a lone surfer, but the shark was not present. I have lived and surfed for years all throughout the Pacific Northwest including Oregon, Humboldt, Sonoma, Marin, and Santa Cruz. I have personally had several encounters with great whites including having one swim under me, witnessed a feeding, saw one chase seals up onto a beach. I am not one to cry wolf and am positive as to what I witnessed today.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Monica Beach On March 14, 2008 Dan Burks was surfing at Santa Monica just South of Bay Street at about 7:45 AM. He reported; “I don’t know what kind of shark it was, but I estimate its length at 8 or 9 feet. The back edge of the dorsal fin looked pretty scarred up. It was about 70 yards out from my location. It did not approach me and once submerged I did not see it again. Another surfer also saw the shark but I do not have his name.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre, Trail One On March 8, 2008 Chris Pavlis and his brother-in-law Troy were surfing at Trail One, San Onofre. It was between 11:30 AM and 12 PM and they had been in the water 2 ½ hours. The sky was clear with a light breeze and a temperature in the upper 60s Fahrenheit. The sea surface was mostly calm with the surf 2 – 3 feet and a water temperature in the upper 50s Fahrenheit. The ocean floor at Trail One was a mixture of sand and rocks near the main rock reef. Pavlis recalled; “I had been out surfing for about two hours before my brother-in-law paddled out and outside of the tide dropping nothing out of the ordinary had gone on. There were about 10 guys in the water spread out over about 300 yards. As the tide started to drop I paddled closer to the rocky reef if you will to get a little better shaped wave at that time Troy came out and caught some waves and after about 30 minutes he took one almost to shore turned around and was coming back out, I was sitting outside and turned around to tell him cool wave and when I looked at him I noticed a boil about ten feet from him and when I focused on the water I saw the shark swimming slowly and methodically straight towards Troy. It was about 7 feet in length and light grey in color. I freaked a bit and started yelling and pointing for him to turn and look but he just dug in and paddled harder. The shark literally passed the tail of his board by inches making a perfect T from my vantage point. It continued swimming North towards the reef and disappeared. And though a seven foot shark may seem quite minor to most, in all my 34 years of surfing I have had no sightings or encounters with sharks till now and to be honest this brief encounter has changed me. Every time I go in the water alone now I have a nasty little fear that I can't shake.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Huntington Beach On March 7, 2008 Thomas Larkin was surfing with two friends. He recounted the following; “I was surfing a 6’6” Avisco (carbon fiber) Surf Prescriptions Bat Tail Quad. I paddled out at Dog Beach near Huntington Cliffs around 7:10 in the morning at a pretty full high tide. Dog Beach is located in a stretch of Huntington City Beach between Seapoint Street and Golden West Street. I was meeting two friends there, Matt Donoghue and Craig Angel. The current was moving around a lot of water, and both of them were on longboards, so about 20 minutes into the surf I was tired of paddling over to them on my shortboard, and was surfing pretty much alone. There were two bodyboarders about 100 yards north of me, and I was almost due west of the ramp walkway. At about 8:00 AM, I caught my best wave of the session, and even though Matt and Craig had already gotten out, I wanted one more. I paddled back out and was sitting in the lineup alone, with the closest surfers about 200 yards south, and the bodyboarders were inside and north. I was waiting for a set for about 5 minutes when I felt a jolt down on the tail of my board, immediately followed by violent bubble cascade, which sunk the board down about another 8 inches (see photograph). I didn’t really get what was going on as quickly as I should have, but as soon as it begun it had ended and I was apparently alone again. A wave popped up, I paddled into it but pearled because of the water in the nose of my board, I quickly got back on and paddled into the whitewater of the next wave and boogie boarded it to the beach where I emptied the board through the apparent bite mark." The diameter of the bite suggests an adult White Shark in excess of 15 feet in length. Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre, Trail One On March 5, 2008 Kelly Lewis reported the following: “The shark was spotted at the base of Trail One, San Onofre State Park at approximately 1:45 PM. It appeared to be about 6 feet long. It was thrashing violently until a set of waves came in to float it (see photographs). It then spent another 2 to 3 minutes in very shallow water sometimes on it's back, eventually swimming into deeper water and disappearing. Dozens of seagulls were circling as if an opportunity existed. I had just been knee deep in the water a hundred yards south throwing a stick for my dog that was swimming well out into the surf. No surfers were in the water. My clothing doesn't seem to be of any importance. The shark came ashore independent of any human interaction. The beach has a very flat sand bar 300 feet long that stays flat out another 200 feet. However at the area this shark was ashore there are rocky depressions that set up drainage 'creeks' that run parallel to the shore to drain away higher sets that flood over the sand bar at or around low tide. My guess is the shark just got washed in and ended up stranded until another 'flooding set' allowed him to find an escape route. It was very lethargic after the set re-floated it, and as you saw in the one picture it was on its back. It also swam on its side for a period of time. I thought it may have been seriously injured. There was pinkish, almost a diluted blood look along its belly.” The pictured animal is a juvenile Salmon Shark, which are infrequent visitors to this area. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Monterey Bay On February 5, 2008 a juvenile male Great White Shark was released in Monterey Bay, 162 days after it was placed in the Monterey Bay Aquarium Outer Bay exhibit. The young shark carried two electronic tags: one that will relay near real-time data about his travels for about eight months, and a second that will collect detailed information on his movements for the next five months.
Data from the second tag, documenting where the shark goes, how deep it dives and the water temperatures it favors, will be relayed to Monterey Bay Aquarium scientists via satellite when the tag pops free in early July. The shark had grown from an initial size of 4-feet, 9-inches and 67 ½ pounds when it arrived on August 28, 2007 to its current size of 5-feet, 10-inches and 140 pounds.
This is the third time in four years that the Aquarium has exhibited a Great White Shark and then returned it to the wild. The first shark, a female was held for 198 days; our second, a male, for 137 days. Both were successfully returned to the wild and the tracking tags they carried documented their journeys back in the ocean.
Monterey Bay scientists have tagged 10 other young sharks in the wild in Southern California waters as part of their ongoing Great White Shark field project, and support research to track the migrations of adult Great White Sharks tagged off the Farallon Islands and Point Año Nuevo on California's central coast.
The Aquarium will begin its seventh field season of white shark research this summer, and will again attempt to bring a young shark back to Monterey for exhibit.
Encinitas On January 8, 2008 Pete Schomaker was surfing at the river mouth at San Elijo, Encinitas. It was 8:40 AM and he had been on the water about 2 hours. The sky was clear and the ocean surface glassy. Air and water temperatures were estimated in the mid-60’s and mid-50’s Fahrenheit respectively. The water was 4 – 6 feet deep with excellent visibility. Schomaker recalled; “I was riding a wave at San Elijo, Suckouts. I looked down and low and behold, there's a shark swimming just in front of me through the water. I would estimate the shark to have been 5' to 6' in length, very dark gray or blue upper surfaces, nearly black. I did not see its belly. I've surfed since 1967 in So Cal waters, never seen a shark before, this was definitely a shark. I felt a peculiar sense of relief as I rode over him and that was that. Dismounted my board and paddled out for more surf. I learned later, true or not I don't know that the shark is something of a local. Hangs out inside the reef (rock) where the San Elijo creek empties into the ocean. It's a fun break. Good lefts and truly sweet rights. I've surfed since 1967 and I've seen Barracuda, Dolphins, Seals, Leopard Sharks, Yellow Tail pass under my board. This was my first potentially dangerous shark. I think that's why I felt relieved. My first encounter and I (probably foolishly) felt I had some control over it, by riding over it instead of watching the bugger head toward me. He/she didn't seem menacing at all. I rather enjoyed it. Later on I heard others see the shark and that it's some kind of local legend.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.