Pacific Coast Shark News 2014
The following reports for 2014 are provided as a public service. They are intended to inform our visitors of current shark activities along the Pacific Coast of North America. To review Pacific Coast Shark News for 2003 click here, for 2004 click here, for 2005 click here, for 2006 news click here, for 2007 click here, for 2008 click here, for 2009 news click here, for 2010 news click here, for 2011 news click here, for 2012 news click here and for 2013 click here.
Santa Barbara On October 19, 2014 Tara Burnley was paddling her outrigger about 1 mile from shore and 2 miles from the harbor. It was about 1:30 PM and she had been on the water about 35 minutes. The sky was clear with a moderate onshore 10 – 12mph breeze. The air temperature was estimated at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was choppy with a west swell and an estimated water temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Water visibility was greater than 10 feet. Burnley reported;“I was paddling my OC-1 outrigger when it was struck on the right side and spun the stern of my outrigger. Within a few seconds a shark surfaced and grabbed the ama (outrigger) knocking me into the water. I was able to get back onboard the outrigger and hit the shark on the nose one time with my paddle. Within a few seconds it released its grip, submerged and swam under my outrigger to the left of my vessel. I reviewed a number of photographs of sharks common to California and believe the shark that struck my outrigger was a White Shark.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Malibu On October 11, 2014 Gerard Rotunno and five unidentified kayaker's, were fishing offshore near Neptune's Net Restaurant at the Los Angeles/Ventura County line. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was glassy-calm with 30 – 40 feet of water visibility and a recorded depth of 100 feet. Rotunno reported;“While fishing with my five friends, a Hammerhead Shark, 11 – 12 feet in length, suddenly appeared and began circling our kayaks. It dove down and came back up 3 times as it circled our kayaks for about 10 minutes. I attempted to chase it away and then we hit the surface of the water with our paddles. It rubbed up against my friend's kayak at least once before it dove and disappeared.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Vandenberg AFB On October 3, 2014 Ryan Howell, Brad Rudolph, and Vince Culliver were kayak fishing 200 – 300 yards from shore off the Boat House on Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County. It was 1:00 – 1:30 PM and they had been on the water 3 – 4 hours. The sky was clear with only a slight breeze with an estimated air temperature of 85 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm and flat over a rocky reef bottom 40 – 50 feet deep. Several pinnipeds were observed in the water, but fewer than previous occasions. The fishing was slow with only 3 rockfish being taken on plastic lures. No natural bait or chumming was utilized. Rudolph reported;“Vince Culliver, Ryan Howell and I were side by side moving from one fishing spot to another, we stayed side by side to appear bigger in the water due to the previous shark attack. I was on the far left, Vince was in the middle, and Ryan was on the right. We were looking at Ryan talking and laughing as we were headed to the next spot when all of a sudden the shark came crashing out of the water with its mouth open as it smashed into the bottom of Ryan's kayak, launching Ryan and his kayak through the air. The shark almost completely breached the water and in air the shark turned its body to the right, like an airplane banking to the right. Only the shark's tail did not clear the water. The shark crashed back into the water and turned into and bit the kayak again. There was such an enormous wake and water turbulence from the shark that it pushed Vince and I away from Ryan and his kayak. We were yelling for Ryan because we lost sight of him in the turbulence and splash from the impact of the shark in the water. We saw Ryan floating in the water beside his kayak, so Vince and I got to him and pulled him out of the water. We called for help on the marine radio and the boat ‘Elizabeth Ann' was in the area and came to our aid and pulled us out of the water. They towed our kayaks and took us back to the Boat House Harbor.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Vandenberg AFB On October 3, 2014 three kayak fishermen (names withheld by request) were 150 – 200 yards from Vince Culliver, Brad Rudolph, and Ryan Howell. It was about 12:00PM and they had been on the water about 90 minutes paddling to this location. They were coasting into the area near the edge of a reef. The water was 45 – 50 feet deep. While paddling to the area they had passed several pinnipeds and dolphins. The fishermen were separated by 10 – 15 feet when a large shark came to the surface between two of the kayaks. The shark turned and began to swim passed the kayaks, allowing two fishermen to see the eye and the grey and white mouth. It suddenly turned and grabbed the ‘peddle drive' of one kayak and began to swim away with it. The kayak turned over, dumping the occupant into the water. When it grabbed the drive and began to swim away the water displaced by the tail moving from side to side had pushed the other two kayaks 10 – 15 feet away from the ejected subject. Within a few seconds they were able to assist the subject onto his overturned kayak and a radio call for help was made. A boat arrived and took the three fishermen and their kayaks back to the Boat House at Vandenberg. The shark was estimated at more than 20 feet. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Vandenberg AFB On October 2, 2014 M.M. (name withheld by request) and an unidentified companion were surfing at Jack's Beach, which is about a quarter of a mile North of Wall Beach and 1.2 miles North of Surf Beach in Santa Barbara County. It was 5:30PM and they had been on the water about one hour. The sky was clear with no wind and the surf running 4 – 6 feet over a sandy reef bottom. M.M. was lying on his board facing the beach with his feet up when he was violently struck on the left side. He was ejected from his board landing in the water a few feet from it. Almost immediately he felt a surge of water push him away from the board. He grabbed his board and headed for the beach with his companion following. He sustained a fractured patella and several tooth punctures. His prognosis is for a complete recovery. The shark was estimated at 8 – 10 feet in length. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Cruz On September 17, 2014 confirmation that the September 13, 2014 White Shark attack on surfer Beau Browning at Manresa State Beach was a fabrication was made public. Although there have been numerous follow-up stories to the first report, the following from Inquisitir Online sums up the many narratives to the final conclusion. Many thanks to Wendi A. Zuccaro for her determination in getting accurate information on this recent fraudulent White Shark attack. She provided the following link; http://www.inquisitr.com/1480742/shark-attack-in-santa-cruz-fake/
Catalina Island On September 17, 2014 Journalist Pete Thomas reported the following;“The number of bizarre catches or sightings off Southern California continues to rise and on Sunday (September 14) perhaps the rarest visitor to date was documented: a Whale Shark. While these docile plankton-eaters are often seen by divers at destinations such as Hawaii, southern Mexico and the Sea of Cortez, they're almost never encountered off Southern California. The Whale Shark spotted Sunday, east of Santa Catalina Island, was estimated to measure 20 to 25 feet. It approached and even bumped the Triton, which runs from Long Beach Sportfishing, as anglers fished for Yellowfin Tuna. ‘He was curious, almost playful,' Triton Capt. Ryan Gengler told Phil Friedman Outdoors Radio, which broke the story. ‘When he bumped into us, you could feel the boat shake. I could not believe my eyes.' Like the tuna, and other exotic visitors this summer, the Whale Shark ventured far north of its typical range because of a wide swath of unusually warm water, stretching from southern Baja California into California. For nearly two months anglers have been catching Yellowfin Tuna and Dorado at the offshore fishing grounds west of Orange County. Sea surface temperatures off Southern California range from 70 to about 76 degrees, about five degrees above normal in many locations.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Morro Bay On September 16, 2014 Eric Endersby, Harbor Director, City of Morro Bay, received the following report from a commercial fisherman;“At 7:30AM a large Great White Shark was observed at ‘Shellmound' off of Morro Bay sand spit approximately 2 miles South of the tip of the spit. There was a 2 – 3 foot South swell with a clear sky and little to no wind. The water was 80 feet deep and the commercial fisherman was bottom fishing with squid bait. He had been at this location for about one hour. A very large Great White Shark, 18 – 19 feet in length, was observed swimming directly under the vessel. The entire animal was seen from above less than 10 feet below the vessel. He was actively fishing and was not underway at the time of the encounter. There were numerous birds in the area as well as squid in the water.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Morro Bay On September 7, 2014 Eric Endersby, Harbor Director, City of Morro Bay, reported the following;“At 1:45PM a surfer contacted a Public Safety Officer and filed a report of a shark sighting approximately 100 yards North of Morro Rock. The sky was clear with a 10 knot offshore wind and an estimated air temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The was a 2 – 4 foot South swell over a sandy ocean bottom 15 – 17 feet deep with an estimated water temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. The surfer reported a large shark, likely a great white, seen in partial silhouette through a wave as the surfer was paddling out. The witness clearly saw the outline of the dorsal fin as well as a partial pectoral. The witness is also a commercial fisherman and has seen great white sharks before. There were approximately 20 other surfers in the area, however, no others reporting seeing the animal. The eyewitness did not see the animal again. The sighting was deemed "credible" by the Harbor Patrol and area beaches posted with a notification of the sighting.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Sunset Beach On September 6, 2014 Alan Latteri was Stand-Up-Paddle boarding at Sunset Beach in Los Angeles. It was 2:00PM and he had been on the water about 1 hour. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was relatively calm with an estimated temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Latteri reported;“I was SUP surfing at Sunset Beach when I observed a ‘baby Great White Shark,' about 4 feet in length, just cruising a bit outside the lineup. There was a kayaker fishing in the area and the shark swam toward the kayaker then turned and swam slightly out to sea. It didn't get to close to the other surfers and didn't cause any trouble nor panic in the lineup.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Davenport On September 6, 2014 Peter Andreini and his brother Marc were at the North end of Waddell Reef near Davenport in Santa Cruz County. It was 9:30AM and Peter and Marc had been on the water about 25 minutes. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was glassy smooth, about 15 feet deep over a sandy reef with 6 feet of water visibility and an estimated temperature of 58 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area with moderate kelp growth 25 yards on the outside of the lineup. Andreini reported;“My brother Marc was sitting on his 9 foot 6 inch balsa wood surfboard, legs dangling in the water, during a lull between sets. There were about 20 other surfers in the water, all of them to the south of us. We were sitting 15 feet apart about 45 yards out when a ripple appeared 6 – 8 feet on the north side of him. Marc said ‘was that a dolphin?' He said he saw something go under him. Then 15 – 20 seconds later, a ripple appeared 5 feet on the south side of him. I asked ‘was that a fish feeding on the surface?' Marc replied ‘it may have been a seal.' About 15 seconds later there was another ripple on the north side of him and very suddenly the torso and pectoral fin breached the surface of the water within arm's distance just behind Marc, disappearing from sight. The shark was dark in color with a pectoral fin about 3 feet long. I started to paddle in after telling the other surfers there was a shark, many of whom saw it already. Marc started paddling on his knees parallel to shore then toward shore. I had already started paddling toward shore when I turned around to make sure I stayed close by if he needed help. I told him to stop slapping the water and paddle deeper when he replied ‘I can't - it is right under me!' The shark disappeared and we all went to the beach. 20 minutes later several people went back in the water but we stayed on the beach as the quality of surf did not warrant the risk.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Barbara On September 5, 2014 Jonathan Weirick was SCUBA diving with Patrick Smith and several other divers offshore about 2 miles South of Government Point in Santa Barbara County. They were diving the SM 1, an old US Navy landing ship from WW II that sank at anchor, with no loss of life, in November 1961 during a storm. The ship rests in 80 feet of water upside down. It was 9:50AM and they had been in the water 35 minutes. Air and water temperatures were recorded at 68 and 62 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The sky was overcast with no wind and a calm sea surface and minimum swell. The ocean floor was primarily gravel around the shipwreck with moderate kelp on the wreck and minimal on surrounding bottom. Water visibility was about 15 feet. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Weirick reported;“I had completed a dive to the wreck of the SM-1 and was completing a 3-minute safety stop at a 10-foot depth. A White Shark, estimated to be 8 feet in length, passed by heading in a westerly direction showing no curiosity or interest in me. The shark was slightly above me so the white belly was clearly visible.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Cardiff State Beach On August 31, 2014 Kevin Laursen and an unidentified companion were surfing ‘Suckouts' at Cardiff State Beach. It was 10:15AM and he had been on the water about 20 minutes. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with knee to chest high waves with occasional head high and an estimated temperature of 72 – 74 degrees Fahrenheit. The water was 10 – 12 feet deep over a sandy/reef bottom with excellent water visibility. No marine mammals were observed in the area and there was very little kelp. Laursen recounted;“My friend and I were paddling a few hundred yards out from the first set of stairs north of Suckouts. We were heading down to Suckouts where the break looked better. Keeping an eye on the waves ahead I saw a large dark grey, almost black, dorsal fin break through the surface. The fin was 16 – 18 inches high. The shark was heading south, swimming parallel to the edge of the line. I have grown up on California beaches and am familiar with the myriad sea life here but have never seen a fin like this and immediately identified it as a shark. The shark did not come close enough to the surface for its torso to be exposed or cause a ripple though there was about a foot-and-a-half of dorsal fin exposed. After announcing ‘SHARK' to my friend surfing near me, he and I paddled immediately to shore and informed the lifeguards though by that time the beast had likely moved on.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Barbara Channel On August 30, 2014 Julian Hallmark and Gene McDonald were aboard a 32 foot Hunter sailboat approximately 2 miles West of the oil rigs in the Santa Barbara Channel. It was 1:30 PM with a clear sky, minimal wind, and an air temperature of about 83 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Hallmark reported;“While sailing across the Santa Barbara Channel, out of Santa Barbara Harbor, we came upon a White Shark sunning on the surface. As we got even with the shark, it moved towards the boat for a second or two then slowly moved away. It glided over a swell which was when we saw its white belly. We thought it might be 6 – 8 feet in length. The shark swam away to the west, slowly. We did not see it again.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Cape Falcon, OR On August 28, 2014 Dustin Baum, and an unidentified companion, were kayaking approx ¼ mile North of Cape Falcon, which is about 10 miles south of Cannon Beach, Oregon. It was 8:00AM and they had been on the water 30 minutes. The sky was overcast and the ocean calm with 3 foot swells and recorded air and water temperatures of 58 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The depth at their location was 70 feet with a sandy ocean bottom and water visibility of 10 feet. Two sunfish, several Orcas and one pinniped were observed in the area. Baum recounted;“I was in a kayak sitting stationary in 70 feet of water waiting for a buddy who was approximately 100 yards behind me. I noticed the shark when it was about 30 yards East of me as it was heading South at approximately 3 mph. It was heading towards my buddy so I radioed him to take evasive action. He moved West and the shark continued heading South until it was out of sight. It appeared to be just slowly cruising on the surface with no aggressive signs.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Moonstone Beach On August 26, 2014 Jennifer McElroy was surfing about 30 yards from shore beyond the surf breaks at Moonstone Beach in the confluence of the Mad River in Humboldt County. It was 10:50AM and she had been on the water about 45 minutes. Air and water temperatures were estimated in the mid-60s and 50s Fahrenheit, respectively. The sky was overcast with a brisk breeze causing a choppy condition on the sea surface. No marine mammals were observed in the water although they are known to frequent the area. McElroy reported;“I was surfing, just waiting for waves, when about 10 yards further from shore than I was I observed a very large surface water turbulence completely red like freshly oxygenated blood. The size of the water turbulence appeared to be slightly larger than the 6 foot pick up bed of my truck. In seconds seagulls flocked to the red turbulence. I was more concerned for my safety and for the safety of my fellow surfers than I was to stay and look for chunks of flesh or to look for the shark itself. The water visibility was very poor. The predation took place in front of a river mouth. I actually heard the water turbulence which drew my attention to its location. I was shocked at how much blood instantly surfaced and began to disperse.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Catalina Island On August 23, 2014 Cyrille Rio and Landyn Froehlich were diving off the South end of Santa Catalina Island assisting others in clearing nets from the vessel ‘Infidel,' which accidentally sank off the East end of the island about two years ago while fishing for squid. It was 12:00 PM and they had been in the water about 30 minutes. Water temperature recorded at the wreck site ranged from 55.2 to 55.9 degrees Fahrenheit with water visibility about 20 feet. The bottom was sandy with the wreck resting in 150 feet of water. There were no large dominant algae's in the area and only a single pinniped was observed prior to their descent. Rio recalled;“We were on our way back to the boat, after 30 minutes of bottom time at 140 – 150 feet. We needed to decompress for 30 minutes. We saw the shark on our way back to the ascent line. It was 30 – 40 feet from our location. Our original behavior was excitement, which lasted for slightly more than a minute. It was a diver's dream come true. A big Great White Shark, 16 – 18 feet in length then she started to circle around us, and was following our ascent. So there were a couple of minutes of concern and/or fear. We stayed very close to each other, watching our back, and staying very still while ascending. A couple of times, she came very close, I'd say a meter or maybe less. At one point I placed my camera in front of me to protect myself and unfortunately missed what would have been some very exciting footage. When we hit 110 feet, another team of divers were descending and they were using scooters. I think it might have scared the shark as she left the area, staying briefly with one of the other divers, but not as long as she stayed with us. I posted my video here; https://vimeo.com/104212337 .” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
La Jolla On August 23, 2014 Jason Jacquemet was surfing Black's Beach between Glider Trail and North Trail in La Jolla. It was 3:30PM with air and water temperatures estimated at 80 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. It was a sunny day with good water visibility (unspecified). Jacquemet reported;“While surfing I saw either two seals or the same seal twice inside of me as close to shore as it could get. I was sitting on my board about 40 feet from shore when I noticed a small flock of birds hovering above the water about 30 feet further out from my location and what at first I thought to be a very large ‘black' dolphin. I went ashore as I was preparing to leave. I observed the life guards fishing the body of a seal out of the water. It was missing the lower half of its body. You could see bite marks around the wound and its entrails protruding from the carcass. I realized what I had seen earlier, that I had assumed was a dolphin, was probably a White Shark about 10 feet in length. The lifeguard said they had contacted Sea World and requested they remove the dead seal.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Hermosa Beach On August 6, 2014 Malina Baker was body surfing 100 yards North of the Hermosa Beach Pier in Hermosa Beach. It was 11:10AM and she had been in the water about 30 minutes. Air temperature was estimated at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. She was about 30 feet from shore in water 3 feet deep. Baker reported;“I was body surfing in and out of the waves, playing in the surf, when I saw a shark, 5 – 6 feet in length, swimming in the wave chasing a fish that was about 2 feet in length. It did not appear to be disturbed by my presence.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Newport Beach On August 5, 2014 Natalie Stokes and her husband were using their Jet Ski's off Newport Beach. It was 12:45PM with a sunny sky and a mild breeze and an estimated air temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. There were two sea lions or seals hauled out on a buoy at the wedge. Stokes recounted;“My husband and I were on jet skis right between the wedge and the Balboa Pier in Newport Beach. We stopped for a moment to say something to one another when the shark breached 5 – 6 feet from my husband's Jet Ski. We both looked at one another and took off away from the area. The shark had a flat white stomach; you could see it was definitely NOT a dolphin. The whole body was flat and stiff. The shark was 6 – 7 feet in length.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Cayucos On August 4, 2014 Bret Foster was kayaking off Cayucos located between Cambria to the North and Morro Bay to the South in San Luis Obispo County. He reported the following;“This morning my son-in-law, Nathan, and I were kayaking and about 300 yards up the coast of the Cayucos pier when we saw a dead floating seal. We were about 100 yards off shore. The seal was about 3.5 feet long and had bite marks all over it. The best set of bite marks was about a foot (12 inches) across with individual tooth marks at about 1 inch apart. The seal was fully intact with all flippers head and main body. There was part of the chest gone and a hunk out of the back side. We spotted it at about 11am after some stand up paddlers alerted us to it. It seemed like it was a fairly fresh kill, likely less than 12 hours old. So as we paddled back to shore we kept looking over our shoulders. Going out we saw over a dozen otters, which was very cool. Just before we saw the seal we came upon a rookery with dozens of adult and baby seals.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Morro Bay On August 1, 2014 the Morro Bay Harbor Patrol was notified of a credible shark sighting. The following appeared in the Tribune on August 2, 2014. Journalist Janet Lavelle reported;“The public is being warned about a large shark that a fisherman spotted Friday afternoon at the mouth of the Morro Bay harbor. The Harbor Patrol notified the Morro Bay Police Department at about 1:45 p.m. Friday that it had just received information about a credible shark sighting in that location. A police dispatcher said ‘They estimated that it (the shark) was 18 or 19 feet long.' The Harbor Patrol has posted warning signs in the area to enter the water at your own risk. This warning will expire on August 6th if there are no future confirmed sightings. This was at least the fourth confirmed sighting in waters off San Luis Obispo County in the last month. A fisherman reported seeing a shark between 10 and 12 feet long on July 20 just south of the Avila Beach Pier. On July 5, a shark bit a surfboard with a surfer on it off Oceano and later that same day a shark was reported off Pismo Beach. Morro Bay Harbor Director Eric Endersby reported that a fisherman spotted an 18-foot Great White Shark about a mile off Morro Bay on July 8.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Tamarack Beach On July 28, 2014 Charlotte Lorey and an undetermined number of companions were swimming off Tamarack Beach in Carlsbad. It was 4:00 PM and she and her companions had been on the water about 15 minutes. She wore a pink and black swim suit. The sky was clear and there was a very mild breeze with an estimated air temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with an estimated temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit and very small waves. The ocean floor was sandy and about 10 feet deep with water visibility 10 – 15 feet as the bottom could be seen clearly from the surface. A pod of dolphins had swum through the area minutes before the encounter. Lorey recounted;“My friends and I were swimming out to where some kayakers were; we were quite a ways away from the beach. My friend saw the shark first then I saw it. We swam over the shark – it must have been there before we encountered it. The shark ignored us completely. We tried to remain calm and swam back to shore. It was definitely a shark and not a dolphin. The water was clear and we could see it very well. The shark was 6 – 7 feet in length and about 2 feet wide at the head. It was a ‘Sand' color, but darker than the sand bottom and was swimming below the surface of the water.“ Please report any shark sightings, encounters, or attacks to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Barbara On July 24, 2014 Peter Howorth, Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center, reported the following;“Between 1430 and 1630 today, an old adult male California sea lion came ashore repeatedly on the sandbar at the end of the Santa Barbara breakwater. It had been bitten by a white shark, but the wounds were infected and several days old. The wounds, though nasty, were not life-threatening. The animal had been bitten on its back twice, then on its hind flippers. From the tooth interspaces and bite diameter, I believe this shark to have been a good sized adult white shark in the 13 to 15 foot range, possibly slightly larger. Since the sea lion could have been attacked anywhere, this is an advisory only. This attack did not occur today or yesterday. The sea lion weighed 450 to 500 pounds.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
La Jolla Kelp Bed On July 10, 2014 Patrick Ford was kayak fishing 1 – 2 miles offshore of La Jolla Cove in 115 feet of water outside of the La Jolla Kelp Bed. It was 5:00 PM and he had been on the water about 3 hours. Air and water temperatures were estimated in the low 70s Fahrenheit. Ford reported;“I was peddling my kayak doing a slow troll of the bait when I lost my bait. I hooked a new one on, and went to drop it in the water to resume my trolling for yellowtail. I noticed the fin of a shark out of the water swimming near me. I thought it was a sun fish and cast my mackerel at it as it approached my kayak. I realized it was a shark and immediately pulled the mackerel out of the water and sat still in the middle of the kayak as the shark made almost a full circle around me one time. It then swam along my left side for about 10 seconds. The shark did not make any aggressive movements but looked at me for a bit to check me out. It lost interest and swam away. The shark was very close (close enough to touch with my paddle) so I was able to see it very well for about 10 – 15 seconds. It was definitely a Great White Shark and had a distinct gray back and white belly that I could see were clearly separated from each other. It was about as long as my kayak, which is 14.5 feet in length. There were no seals or sea lions in the water near me, although they are normally present at this location when I fish.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Morro Bay On July 8, 2014 Eric Endersby, Harbor Director, City of Morro Bay reported the following;“We received a call from a recreational fisherman on his boat about a mile offshore Morro Bay reporting an 18 foot Great White Shark circling his boat a couple times just below the surface. Not terribly uncommon for around here. We dispatched a patrol boat to him and, per our protocol, interviewed him to determine whether or not the sighting was credible. It was, and we continued following protocol and posted our beaches, and because of this animal's location, advised surfers that were in the water at the time. Normally we interview folks over the phone since most call in, but this fellow called on his marine radio to us and just gave a quick report then went silent, so we went out and tracked him down as it was just outside our harbor and only a couple boats were in the area of his initial report.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, and attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Point Dume State Beach On July 8, 2014 Katy Ballard was surfing at Big Dume located between Malibu and Zuma Beach. It was a little after 11:00AM and she had been on the water about 2 hours. The sky was clear and the sea calm with very limited visibility from the turbid water conditions. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Ballard reported;“I was sitting on my board taking a break away from the majority of surfers that were just south of the point. I saw something moving to my left under the water. A shark swam alongside me to my left and then took a right towards the nose of my board – towards the other surfers. I would estimate it was 2 – 3 feet below the surface and about 7 feet in length. I got a good look when it buzzed by my board. I am not an expert so I can't be positive it was a great white, but I am sure it wasn't a dolphin or a leopard shark or anything other than a solid grey 7 foot shark. I told the other surfers and a few got out of the water. One of the surfers told me a shark was spotted in the same spot last Saturday, July 5th.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On July 5, 2014 an unidentified swimmer was bitten by a 6 – 7 foot juvenile White Shark near the Manhattan Beach Pier. The following information was provided by Eric Martin, Facility Director, Roundhouse Marine Lab and Aquarium located on the Manhattan Beach Pier;“At about 8:45AM a fisherman on the pier hooked a juvenile White Shark. He had battled the fish for about 45 minutes. The shark had taken about 200 yards of line off the fisherman's reel and was that distance North of the pier. At that same time a group of distance swimmers were also moving through the same area. It is possible that the unidentified male swimmer got his hand tangled in the fishing line, which caused the shark to strike him in the area of his rib-cage. He was assisted from the water and taken by Paramedics to the hospital. His injuries are not considered life-threatening.” Additional information will be posted when available. This incident is not an unprovoked attack but rather a special case and/or provoked. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Pismo Beach On July 4, 2014 Michael Morrison was surfing with his wife, Nicole, and brothers, Justin and Joe, off Pismo Beach. He reported;“We were 200 – 250 feet into the water from the typical shoreline at that time when we saw the shark. The shark was another 50 – 70 feet from us in a south-west direction. It surfaced about 20 minutes into our surfing session. The approximate time was 9:20am. Water visibility was only a few feet, if I had to approximate I would say 4 – 5 feet, if that. We did however see dolphins in the area prior to the larger fish surface, consistently between 8:45 and 9:15am. I would estimate we saw three dolphins in the area consistently from 30 minutes to 5 minutes prior, none after the larger fish was spotted. My estimation is that the shark was 8 – 10 feet long, typical grey in color, with a dorsal fin about 12 inches high. It only surfaced for a few seconds before returning to the cover of the water. Our location was approximately 250 yards south of the Pismo Pier and the shark was heading south. I feel very positive this was a shark due to its lack of dolphin-like movement when diving under the water. The shark simply submerged from site rather than arching its back as a dolphin would when diving under the water. We have been back to that area several times in the past 3 of 4 days with no sightings.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On July 1, 2014 Rich Wright was observing the surf at 24 th Street in Manhattan Beach at about 12:00PM. The sky was overcast with an estimated air temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with a slight chop. Dolphins frequent this area and are common throughout the day.Wright reported:“A 6 – 7 foot White Shark breached just past the waves as I was eating my lunch on the third story balcony of a house on the Strand. I saw the entire shark as it cleared the water's surface in flight, twisted and splashed down. I did not see what it was after but I have forty years experience surfing in many parts of the world and the shark I saw was a juvenile White Shark.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Miguel Island On July 1, 2014 Peter Howorth, Director of the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center reported the following;“I just got off the phone with a pinniped researcher at San Miguel Island since 1967. Apparently there's a lot of schooling fish between Cuyler Harbor and the east end of San Miguel. The sea lions, humpbacks, and sea birds are concentrated there. The sharks have discovered this as well. Usually the sharks appear about the second week of July, but they are already there, probably as part of the food web. One of the researchers, is reporting even larger numbers of sea lions bitten by white sharks, this time at the east end of the island. Last year they counted well over 300 animals attacked by sharks and this year apparently is much worse and more widespread. Sport and commercial divers are advised to avoid the area from Cuyler Harbor to the east end and to exercise extreme caution elsewhere.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Oceanside On June 29, 2014 Hannah Reynolds and her Father were surfing Buccaneer Beach located South of Oceanside. It was 7:53AM and they had been on the water about 60 minutes. Air and water temperatures were estimated in the low 70s Fahrenheit. The sky was overcast and gray and the ocean glassy with a slight texture to the surface. The water was about 4 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Reynolds reported;“I was lying on my surfboard cheering my dad on a wave, when I felt the water suddenly swish on my legs. I pulled my feet up and looked on the side of my board and noticed the shark. It was 6 – 7 feet in length, dark grey on top and a wide body, maybe 2.5 feet wide. It was cruising around, yet still swimming fast. I had to paddle past it to get back to my father. I turned and saw it following me, which freaked me out. I tried to stay calm as we paddled to shore.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On June 26, 2014 Dave Schulte reported the following:“I've been surfing Trail One a lot. The last two nights around 7:00PM I have seen two different Great White Sharks one about 8 feet in length and the other about 6 feet in length, both breaching just outside the surf line. There is a lot of bait in the unusually warm water. The guys down there have been seeing both of these sharks on a daily basis, but mostly outside of the surf line and showing no aggression towards any of the surfers.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Port Hueneme On June 20, 2014 Roxanne Vettese was with an unidentified number of companions sailing a 43 foot vessel 3 miles off Port Hueneme, Ventura County. It was 1:58 PM with an overcast sky and fog that limited visibility to about 1 mile. The ocean was Sea State One, calm with a rippled surface and a swell of 1 – 2 feet. Water depth was recorded at 650 feet with air and water temperatures estimated at 68 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Vettesse reported; “I was helming a sailing vessel when I spotted the shark's fin, maybe 6 inches of fin showing at the surface. The juvenile Great White Shark was 7 – 8 feet in length. The shark came toward the vessel and swam along side. It did not seem to be in distress it was just swimming.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Barbara On June 20, 2014 Katalyn Voss and her friend Kelsey were Stand-Up-Paddleboarding off Leadbetter Point, which is located just North of Santa Barbara Harbor. It was 10:00 AM and they had been on the water 35 – 40 minutes. The sky was clear and there was a mild breeze with an air temperature estimated at 66 degrees Fahrenheit. They were approximately 700 yards from shore outside the kelp beds beyond the buoy. The water temperature was 63 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Voss reported;“We were heading back toward shore when we saw a sea lion swimming quickly in our direction. It was porpoising as it headed toward our location. I then saw a dorsal fin 10 – 15 inches high out of the water heading toward the sea lion. I told my friend what I had seen and we decided to head in to shore. I observed the fin following the sea lion for 5 – 10 seconds before it submerged. I frequently look behind as we paddled in to shore but did not see the dorsal fin or the sea lion again.” Mick Kronman, Harbor Operations Manager, City of Santa Barbara said;“In response to this credible sighting, City staff is posting 72-hour advisories at 22 locations on City beaches.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On June 20, 2014 Brian Beauchaine was surfing with an unidentified companion at El Porto near 40th Street in Manhattan Beach. It was 8:45 AM and they had been on the water 35 – 45 minutes. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 73 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with 2 – 3 foot waves coming in sets. The depth was 10 – 12 feet over a sandy ocean bottom with an estimated water temperature in the 60s Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Beauchaine reported;“I happened to look out to see if any waves were coming in. I saw the shark lift its head out of the water for a second and then when it went back under and I saw the dorsal and tail fins. It had a broad pointed snout with a straight dorsal fin which is how I knew it was not a dolphin or porpoise. It looked to be about seven feet in length, very dark gray in coloration. Dorsal fin was straight triangle. Tail fin was about 3 – 4 inches out of the water. The girl I was surfing with said right before I saw it, she felt a swirling motion right under her and the shark came up about ten feet away. It must have swum right under her although she didn't see it. She said the look on my face was enough to tell her something was up. Other people were looking at the same spot so I assume they saw it as well, although we were the only ones who got out of the water. It didn't seem to want to bother anyone, but being my first experience with a shark while surfing, I was done for the day.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On June 18, 2014 Katrina Ling and an unidentified companion were swimming outside the breakers at Manhattan Beach. It was 8:30 AM and they had been on the water about 20 minutes. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 70 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. It was low tide and a calm ocean over water about 10 feet deep. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Ling recounted;“We were swimming South at a leisurely pace past the breakers from 30th Street Tower in Manhattan Beach towards the pier. It was very low tide so the floor was somewhat visible. When I saw a dark figure moving underneath me and to the side, I paused to look and identified it as a shark because its body was curved like the letter C. It was about 6 feet in length with a dark grey back and appeared to be searching the ocean floor, not paying attention particularly to swimmers on top. Once I notified my swimming partner we decided to swim to shore immediately. I did not see the shark follow us nor did we have any further sightings after that.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Malibu Beach On June 17, 2014 Katina Zinner was swimming at Malibu Beach near Malibu Road. It was 1:20 and she had been on the water for about 20 minutes. Air and water temperatures were estimated in the upper 70s and 60s Fahrenheit, respectively. There was a 1 – 2 foot swell in water about 20 feet deep. The sky was clear with a mild breeze. There a rocky promontory that usually has pinnipeds haul out, today there were none. A lone seal was observed after she had departed the water. Zinner reported; ”I was swimming for about 20 minutes near a rocky promontory about 50 feet or less from the shore. I spent some time around a floating kelp canopy then made my way to the beach. After exiting the water I was walking back to my car when I observed a Grey Whale calf near the surf zone, about 60 feet from the beach. Three other young ladies were also watching the whale when suddenly a dark-black, triangular, dorsal fin appeared near the whale. It was at least 30 inches high, if not more. It surfaced for maybe 3 – 4 seconds then disappeared from view. We continued to watch and over the next 30 minutes the fin appeared 3 more times for a period of 3 – 4 seconds each time. I had considered swimming out to the young whale to see if I could help, but decided against that action after seeing the large dorsal fin. Upon returning home I did a search on the Internet for Killer Whale and shark dorsal fins. The fin I saw more closely resembled that of a Great White Shark than any other animal.“ Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On June 14, 2014 Kirk Aguer and an unidentified companion were surfing El Porto in Manhattan Beach. It was 10:30 AM and they had been on the water about 40 minutes. It was sunny with a mild breeze and an estimated air temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The surf was 2 – 3 feet over a sandy ocean bottom 10 feet deep with like visibility and an estimated water temperature of 67 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Aguer recalled;“I was with a friend and we were sitting on our surfboards about 25 yards off the shore waiting for a wave. All of a sudden a 5 – 6 foot juvenile Great White Shark swims very slowly right by the front of my surfboard. The dorsal and tail fin did not break the water but were just below the surface. It was about 4 – 5 feet from me and continued swimming slowly in a south/east direction down the beach towards another group of surfers. I notified them that there was a small White Shark in the water and they saw it as well. The shark continued past them in the same direction and was never spotted again. Nobody got out of the water. This is the second time this year I have seen a small White Shark at this beach.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On June 14, 2014 Dennis Chavez was surfing at El Porto near the third tank at the Chevron Tank farm in Manhattan Beach. It was 9:40 AM and he had been on the water about one hour. He recorded the air and water temperature at 65 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. It was slightly overcast with a light breeze. The surf was 1 – 3 feet with lightly textured water over a sandy ocean bottom about 8 feet deep. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Chavez reported;“I was waiting for a set, sitting on my board facing South. I caught movement out of the corner of my eye and looked down to my right to see a large Great White Shark about two feet from my right leg, a couple of feet below the surface. It was longer than my 8 foot board and extremely thick body. I froze while the animal slowly swam by me to the South, angling off shore after passing me. I told another surfer who was about 20 feet behind me what had happened as the shark must have swam right by him. We both watched its shadow move along the surf line towards another group of surfers about 40 yards to the South. I called out and informed one of the surfers about the animal, but they took no action and did not seem to see it. The surfer that was behind me said ‘I don't need this' and paddled in. I stayed out for about 20 minutes, till I felt an unusual bump, as a swell passed under me that almost knocked me off my board, forcing me to lay flat to keep from toppling off. I looked around to see if there was anything near me, and saw nothing; no ripples, shadows, or anything that could have caused it. I was already spooked from the earlier encounter and paddled in for the day.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On June 9, 2014 David McNeary was surfing near 34th Street in Manhattan Beach. It was 9:45 AM and he had been on the water 1 hour and 45 minutes. The sky was overcast with an estimated air temperature in the 70s Fahrenheit. The surf was 1 – 3 feet clean with the water 4 – 5 feet deep over a flat sandy ocean bottom that was easily seen from the surface. There was a kelp canopy 10 – 20 yards West of his location and a small pod of 8 – 10 dolphins 50 yards Northwest of his location. The dolphins had been swimming back and forth throughout the morning. However, at about 9:30 AM they stopped swimming back and forth and began circling a kelp canopy. This continued for approximately 30 minutes. McNeary recalled;“I was paddling into a right, heading Southeast as I stood and turned into the wave. I observed a dark grey, 5 foot shark directly below me, heading Southeast and toward the shore at a steeper angle than I had taken. The shark was on my right headed to shore in more of a slightly straight line, I crossed over him. As the shark turned, I could see the white underbelly. The shark appeared to be moving slowly and not alarmed by me at all. I took the opportunity to get out of the water at the end of that ride. I was a little spooked. I did not see the shark again. I informed the lifeguard but he did not seem to express much alarm.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Barbara On June 8, 2014 Peter Howorth, Director, Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center reported the following;“At 0930 hours this morning, a shark was sighted approximately 30 feet offshore, inside of the red buoy closest to Santa Barbara (Leadbetter) Point, just outside the breakers. It was following or chasing a seal or sea lion, which apparently escaped. City employees who interviewed the witness believed this was a credible sighting. I covered Leadbetter Beach from the yacht club to the point then went as far as Thousand Steps in case the seal or sea lion had been injured. I did not find anything. The harbor patrol checked offshore, warning two kayakers and a stand-up paddleboarder. They also checked the harbor entrance buoys for any injured sea lions but saw none. After interviewing the witness, I concluded that it may have been a sea lion rather than a seal because of its behavior. The description of the dorsal fin, the behavior of the shark and the fact that it was very close to shore leads me to believe that it was likely a juvenile white shark. While observing the shark the witness observed the head to emerge at one point, not to the tip of the snout, but where the eyes were. The distance from the top of the head to the dorsal was estimated at 3 feet. Allowing for the extra distance to the snout and some error in estimating that measurement, this would still place the shark in the 7 to 9-foot range. The authorities have closed the beach to water activities for 24 hours.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Turtles On June 7, 2014 Dena Austin Miller was surfing Turtles to Barney's located South of Swami's near Encinitas. It was about 5:00 PM and she had been on the water about 30 minutes. It was primarily sunny with a few high clouds and an estimated air temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with the surf 1 – 2 feet inside and an estimated water temperature of 66 degrees Fahrenheit. The depth was about 10 feet over a grassy reef with water visibility greater than the depth as the bottom could be seen easily from the surface. Kelp beds are present about 120 yards West of this location. No marine mammals were observed in the area and, excluding one small fish, the area was void of marine life. Miller reported;“Surfing inside rollers at Barneys laughing and having a blast, I looked South to Turtles where my teen son Tim was surfing with his bud Shawlin only to see a shark's dorsal fin. At first I thought it was a water craft some kids must be messing around with. It looks like something sideways, moving from the Southwest just South of the Tin Shed up on the cliff, way inside, about 45 – 50 feet from the sand. What set me up for the mental awaking was the wave rolling in just outside of the surfacing fin it put perspective to the drag behind the fin and the straight Northeast direction it was moving. It was up moving rapidly about 3 seconds. I just about flung myself sideways in shock at the size of the grey fin, about 20 inches at the base. I see dolphins all the time in Del Mar, between 11th and 15th Streets. I've seen them swim under my board and in waves with me and dolphins move way different than what I saw. It was a big fin, I've had Big dolphins in arms length and there fins could not touch this in size. So I'm wiggling on my board saying to those around me...did you see that...that's a shark, and everyone was chill. So now I'm looking at my friend Misty whose North 20 yards of me and it surfaces again for a much shorter time, maybe a couple of seconds. Misty said that's a dolphin and a veteran surfer said nope that's not a dolphin. I paddled South to Turtles and said to my son and friend get out of the water, there's a shark and let's sit out for 10 minutes to see if we can see it again. We did not see the shark again so resumed surfing.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Limekiln State Beach On June 6, 2014 Erik Allen, Jon O., Dave H., Gene H., and Richard R. were kayak fishing 4 miles Northwest of Limekiln State Beach near Big Sur in Monterey County. It was 9:30 AM and they had been on the water about 60 minutes paddling to their favorite fishing location. It was overcast and cool with little or no wind. The ocean was calm with 2 foot swells at 6 – 7 second intervals in water about 80 feet deep. The water had a recorded temperature of 56 degrees Fahrenheit with about 15 feet of visibility. Allen reported;“The guys had left several minutes prior to my departure and were headed to our fishing grounds a little more than 4 miles away. Jon was at least 200 yards ahead of me and was pretty close to the other guys. I noticed a sea lion swimming quickly towards me from their direction. I thought that was weird but there are sea lions everywhere out here. I heard a small splash behind me and turned my head around to see a HUGE dark grey spot and a dorsal fin about 4 – 5 feet behind my kayak. Having studied Marine Biology I knew it wasn't a dolphin. I turned back around and saw the tail as well as the dorsal fin. My heart sank because I knew it was a Great White Shark and it was huge. I calmly put my paddle on top of my head and loudly shouted to the guys ‘Help! Hey, help. I have a Great White behind me.' Even though they were more than a hundred yards away, I could hear them clearly say ‘Oh %*#*!' I turned back around and the shark's nose was about 6 inches from the back of my kayak. Even though I wasn't paddling, it somehow managed to stay right behind me...pacing me. This went on for a minute, even though it seemed like forever. Then I looked back and noticed that now a second, smaller, Great White Shark was behind me as well. At this point I was like, ‘Really?' I loudly shouted ‘Guys there are 2 Whites here now. Get over here please.' I looked to my right and noticed the bigger shark had moved next to my kayak. Its head was maybe 2 – 3 inches from the right edge of my yak. I saw every detail on its skin, including the ampullae of Lorenzini pores. It just sat there and stared at me with its HUGE, all black eye for about a minute. It just hovered next to me. We stared right into each other's eyes and then I literally told it, ‘I know this is your ocean and I respect you. Please leave me alone so I can see my family again.' About 15 – 20 seconds later, it decided to move on. As it swam up to the front end of my kayak, I looked back because I wanted to see how big it was. Its nose was at the front and there was still several feet before the shark ended and my kayak is almost 15 feet long. About 2 hours later, Dave, Jon and I were fishing about 40 yards outside of the kelp stringers. I look over and saw a fin about 80 – 100 yards away. I told Dave, ‘Are you kidding me... there they are again.' We saw the fins turn towards our direction and then the fins submerged. That was our signal to get out of there. We bee-lined it for the kelp and made it there safely. We never saw the sharks again. Later I found out that from their view, my friends said the big shark was about 20 feet long and that the dorsal fin was taller than me when I was sitting in my kayak. The other shark was roughly 12 – 14 feet. They told me the smaller shark was the shark that was chasing the sea lion I saw jumping away from the guys. Dave said the shark was chasing the sea lion then turned and made a run at him. It dove down about 25 yards before his kayak. I guess the smaller shark made the turn and joined the bigger shark at my kayak.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Sunset Beach On June 5, 2014 Robert Nicolas was surfing at Sunset Beach in Orange County near Tower 22. It was 12:30 PM and he had been on the water about 30 minutes. The sky was clear with a brisk onshore breeze and an estimated air temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The surf consisted of small waist high sloppy wind swells over a sandy ocean bottom that was 6 – 8 feet deep with an estimated water temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Nicolas reported;“I was sitting on my board between sets and I saw a triangular black dorsal fin moving very slowly about 25 yards out from me. It vanished quickly and did not reappear. I hoped it was a dolphin as they are usually present in numbers at this beach. I paddled north as it looked like whatever I saw was swimming south. About 2 minutes passed when to my left (south) about 50 yards further out I witnessed the shark come almost completely out of the water. I got a pretty good look at it and could see the familiar shape of a shark. It was 8 – 10 feet in length, dark on top with a white bottom, a typical shark snout and very thick body. Not at all like a dolphin.“ Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On June 1, 2014 Amanda Schmitz, of Chica Surf Adventures, was surfing at Manhattan Beach near Tower 45. It was 10:00 AM and she had been on the water about one hour. It was sunny with air and water temperatures in the 60s Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with water visibility greater than the 6 – 10 foot depth as the sandy bottom could be seen clearly from the surface. No marine mammals or fish were observed in the area. Schmitz reported; “I was in the water for an hour and I heard people talking about seeing two sharks. I watched as a number of surfers would cautiously swim away from the sharks, but they continued to surf for at least 20 minutes. The sharks seemed to be hanging out. There were no erratic movements by the sharks but they were fairly active swimming around the surf line. Quite honestly, I have friends who surf there and see them every day, but not the larger one of the two. I saw a l arge dorsal fin swimming through several wave sets towards and under surfers in shallow water. A separate dark clear shadow of the shark was seen multiple times close to shore. The sharks were never together; in fact they were far apart. The smaller shark was maybe 6 – 8 feet in length and the other easily 10 – 12 feet in length, maybe more. It looked like the size of a car from above. One swam underneath a bunch of surfers straight towards me and the other swam past me about 10 feet away with its dorsal fin above the water. The bigger one definitely spooked me out a little just because of its size. It wasn't so much that it was long but it was such a big creature all the way around.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On May 30, 2014 Michael Dolen was surfing at El Porto in Manhattan Beach. It was 7:20 AM and he had been on the water about 50 minutes. The sky was cloudy to the East and clear to the West with an estimated air temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit. There were 2 – 3 foot waves at 9 seconds with the depth in excess of 15 feet and an estimated water temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Dolan recounted;“I live in the area and surf this location at least 3 times per week, so I am very familiar with the 7 – 9 foot juvenile Great White that has been seen frequently in El Porto lately. The Great White I saw today was substantially larger, both in length and especially in girth. I had been in the water since 6:30 AM and much of the time was spent sitting on my board as the swell was disappointing. I was approximately 30 yards from shore. While sitting and chatting with a fellow surfer, a Great White jumped completely out of the water, no more than 20 yards away, and northwest of our position in front of 43rd Street. The shark's entire body was out of the water, so it was possible to more accurately gauge its size and discern its characteristics and it was definitely a Great White. I would estimate it to be at least 12 feet, possibly larger. Unlike the juvenile, which has been frequently coasting these waters, this one had a substantial girth. While I am accustomed to seeing smaller sharks in the water, the size of this one was truly alarming and I have never seen anything like it during the nearly 3 years I have lived and been surfing here. I began paddling in and another surfer slightly closer to the shore, who did not see the jump, was alarmed as he just saw the tail of a ‘really big' shark swim close to his board.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On May 29, 2014 Claudio Tona reported the following;“I went to Manhattan Beach at 5:30 PM to check out the waves. I was parked South of Tower 45. As I watched a set of waves come in I saw a shark ‘fly' out of the water and belly land about 10 yards from the line up. It was not large, maybe 4 – 5 feet in length and I can't say what type of shark. Also, I do not know if any of the surfers in the water saw the shark breach.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Capitola On May 26, 2014 Daniel Garcia was surfing the "Hook" in Capitola, a city in Santa Cruz County on the coast of Monterey Bay. It was 7:00 PM and he had been on the water about 10 minutes. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature in the mid-60s Fahrenheit. It was high tide with the ocean swell about 3 feet with limited water visibility and an estimated temperature in the upper 50s Fahrenheit. Two sea otters and one sea lion were observed in the area prior to the encounter. Garcia reported;“I was just sitting on my board when I saw the shark swim about 3 feet under me. It was light grey in color and about 6 feet in length. After it passed beneath me it swam straight for about 10 feet then quick turned to the left and disappeared.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Carlsbad On May 15, 2014 Stephanie Burroughs reported the following;“I had walked down to Robert E. Frazee Beach near Tamarack Surf Beach in Carlsbad with my daughter Holly. Around 5:45 PM, I looked out about 250 yards, or a little more, and thought I was looking at a bird. The bird wasn't moving or flying away and was in the shape of a triangle. The triangle started moving methodically in a slow right and left motion and moving south. I then realized I wasn't looking at a bird but a shark fin. I watched the fin move for about 15 minutes. The fin was large and rectangular, and dark grey. My daughter and several people on the beach saw this as well. There was a dark shape in the water, murky though due to the wildfires. When I came home, I ‘Googled' the image of a Great White Shark fin, and the fin I saw looked identical to the Google image of a Great White Shark fin. I must say I have never seen this type of thing since I moved here in 1985. I was actually terrified. I'm an avid ocean swimmer.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On May 15, 2014 John Kresich was surfing at Manhattan Beach. He reported the following;“It was 9:15 AM with a clear sky and a very warm air temperature. The ocean was glassy calm with small surf and a water temperature in the low 60s Fahrenheit. The bottom was 5 – 7 feet deep and could be seen easily from the surface. Other surfers reported seeing schools of baitfish and a few bat rays in the area. Several dolphins had been observed in the area. I was sitting on my board about 35 yards off shore from the beach, facing west toward the incoming waves. I was slightly north of the 45th tower located at north end of El Porto in Manhattan Beach. Another individual was paddling out when a 6 – 7 foot White Shark was observed heading directly towards shore about 3 yards north of me and between the guy paddling out. The shark was cruising at a slow speed, slightly under the surface. I believe it was looking for fish near shore. Two of us had a good look at shark. I've seen one before at Trail One in San Onofre and have a good understanding of the shark's distinctive characteristics. Most of us continued to surf, and we did not see it the rest of the session.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On April 30, 2014 Matt Agnitch was surfing about 40 yards from shore at El Porto in Manhattan Beach. It was 8:00 AM and he had been on the water about 40 minutes. Several dolphins were observed in the area prior to the encounter. Agnitch reported;“I was paddling out to catch a set that was coming in when I saw a grey fin protrude from the water about 20 yards from me. Based on the triangular shape, I thought it was a shark. About 30 seconds later I spotted another fin, but this one surely resembled a dolphin fin. After seeing this I decided to stay out, since I assumed that maybe my eyes had deceived me and the previous fin just belonged to a dolphin. About 20 minutes later I saw two other surfers paddling in and saying that they had a shark swim under them. They estimated it was about 10 feet in length. I decided to call it a day and when I later talked with them their description would lead me to guess it was either a Great White or Salmon shark.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Hermosa Beach On April 30, 2014 James Vakula was surfing at Hermosa Beach near 25 th Street. It was about 8:00 AM and he had been on the water about 30 minutes. The sky was clear with a mild breeze and an estimated air temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm and glassy over a sandy ocean bottom about 10 feet deep with like water visibility and an estimated temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Vakula reported;“There were more fishermen than normal on the beach and when I started paddling out I was seeing small schools of baitfish, maybe 15 – 25 in each school. I am not sure if they were sardines or something else about that size. After about 30 minutes of surfing I had just finished paddling past the line up still facing out to sea. When I went to sit up on my board to wait for the next set I noticed a large shape reflecting sunlight in the water. It was about 10 feet in front of me and slightly to the right. I remained in paddling position and observed what appeared to be a tope/school shark 4 – 6 feet in length about 3 feet under the surface swimming slowly north to south. I was definitely able to clearly see its head and distinctive, low angled tail. I watched it for another 5 – 10 seconds or so until it veered out of my site out to sea. I was catching my last wave before going to work. A set showed up about 45 seconds later and I rode it in.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On April 28, 2014 Manolo Langis was surfing at El Porto in Manhattan Beach. It was 10:30 AM and he had been on the water about 30 minutes. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit and little or no breeze. The sea was calm and about 6 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom with an estimated water temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit. Several dolphins were observed in the area about 30 minutes following the encounter. Langis recalled;“I was sitting on my board, making gentle strokes to slowly move deeper in the lineup, when I saw this big dark shadow closing in on me. I would say a good 8 foot juvenile Great White Shark swim straight under my board, about 5 feet below. Felt like it looked at me and continued on. It basically cruised along the full lineup, scary stuff, but continued to surf – a few other people around my location saw the shark as well. Lifeguards showed up in a boat not long after to try to locate perhaps from previous report, or maybe the shark is tagged.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Cruz On April 18, 2014 Eric Chin and his son were surfing at Pleasure Point, O'neills at 38th Avenue, Santa Cruz. It was about 10:45 AM and they had been on the water 1.5 hours. The ocean was calm with 2 – 3 foot waves over a reef. The water temperature was estimated at 57 degrees Fahrenheit with limited water visibility due to a plankton bloom. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Several seal pups and sea otters were observed in the area. Chin reported:“My son was surfing the inside break so I grabbed his 9'0 Strive longboard and paddled to the outside peak. I caught a nice 2 foot wave and road that into the beach. I paddled back out to the peak and sat calmly looking at the horizon. It was a crystal clear sunny day with great visibility. I scanned the horizon for the next set. At that time, I saw a large dark colored shark breach completely out of the water about 100 yards from the peak. The shark was about 8 – 9 feet over the water, and horizontal to the ocean, and the dorsal fin was flapping back and forth. The nose of the shark descended about 10 degrees lower and the shark slammed back into the ocean and splashed down with a lot of spray. The entry was NOT nose first and clean like a dolphin, but more like that of a whale's breach. I have sailed since I was three, and surfed for the past 15 years in Santa Cruz. I am an avid fan of sea life, and know with extreme confidence that this was a shark breaching. I cannot be 100% confident it was a White Shark, however, the length, 10 – 12 feet, and the girth of the shark leads me to believe it was a Whitey. I have heard that Blue Sharks and Makos breach, but the volume and size of this fish was tremendous. It was a moving experience, and gorgeous moment. There were three other longboarders near me and I yelled "woah, shark breach, did you friggin' guys see that?" No one caught the breach. However a few guys muttered and paddled in. Everyone else stayed in the lineup. It was a truly stunning sight, and one that I will remember for life. The sheer beauty of the shark was awesome. We all stayed out and surfed another hour or so, then went in as the flood tide was starting to slow down the waves.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On April 15, 2014 Frederik Boll was surfing with four unidentified companions 50 yards from shore at San Onofre State Beach, Trail One. It was 6:00 PM and he had been on the water about one hour. The sky was partly cloudy with the estimated air temperature 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The sea was glassy and calm with very poor water visibility of only 2 feet and an estimated water temperature of 57 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit. A single pinniped was observed about 30 minutes following the encounter with “small schools of baitfish jumping once in a while.” Boll reported;“We were sitting on our boards approximately 50 yards out. In between sets we noticed some water churning about 10 yards further out than our location and then saw the dorsal and caudal fin. The shark stayed in that location for a couple of minutes. I asked the other surfers if we should go in but they said that they see them all the time in this area so we all stayed out. About 10 minutes later when I was paddeling back out I saw it again as it cruised by my board. It was about 6ft long and girthy. It looked grey from my vantage point which leads me to believe it was a salmon shark or a small great white. It cruised around the lineup for 10 – 15 minutes then disappeared and wasn't seen again.” California Grunion spawns are frequently associated with the appearance of juvenile White Sharks at Southern California beaches. The Grunion spawn was anticipated to begin on the 15th and end on the 18th of April. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Francisco On March 25, 2014 Federal U.S. District Judge William Orrick III of San Francisco, upheld California's ban on possession or sale of shark fins, rejecting claims that the law discriminates against the Chinese community – where shark fin soup is a traditional delicacy – or interferes with federal management of ocean fishing. The California law, passed in 2011, took full effect in July 2013, when the possession of shark fins became illegal. It was challenged by Bay Area organizations of Chinese American businesses and by shark fin suppliers, who argued that the legislation targeted the Chinese community and exceeded the state's authority to regulate fishing. The Federal Government changed its position after discussions with California Fish & Wildlife officials. It said the two laws could be harmonized, with federal regulations governing shark fishing and the stricter California rules applying within the state. Orrick said, “The state law would have more of an effect on the Chinese American community than it would elsewhere, but federal courts require proof of intentional discrimination to overturn a law, and there was no such evidence in this case. People of Chinese origin or culture undoubtedly overwhelmingly comprise the market for shark fin. However, a law is not unconstitutional simply because it has a racially disparate impact." In his decision Orrick said,“The law applies equally throughout the state and was based on legislative findings that the California shark fin market boosted the market for shark finning, which was contributing to the decline of a species critical to the health of the ocean's ecosystem.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Goleta Point On March 13, 2014 Peter Howorth, Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center, reported the following; “A sub-adult northern elephant seal washed ashore near the mouth of the lagoon at Goleta Point in Santa Barbara County. It had two large bites, one around its neck and the other farther back near the shoulder. It also had bites around the hind flippers. The specimen was in an advanced state of decomposition and probably died 1 ½ to 2 weeks ago. From the wounds, I think it's very possible that the shark killed the seal because of the location of the large bites on the neck and shoulder. Had the shark been scavenging, it would more likely have fed on the carcass without selecting such places to bite.” Examination of the wounds clearly show individual tissue bridges along the periphery of the two distinct bites to the neck and head of the seal. Interspace Measurements of these bridges is consistent with a juvenile white shark 7 – 8 feet in length. This report is ‘old news', however because of the relevancy of juvenile white sharks attacking adult pinnipeds along the Pacific Coast. Peter Howorth reported several similar events in 2013 and 2012. Historically, observed wounds on pinnipeds were inflicted by sub-adult and/or adult white sharks, more than 10 feet in length. Whether this is a new hunting strategy for juvenile white sharks, or simply an event that was never, or seldom, observed before, is unknown. We will continue to monitor these unique predatory events of juvenile white sharks. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On February 17, 2014 Julie Holmes was Sand Up Paddleboarding at Trail One, San Onofre State Beach. It was 1:15 PM and she had been on the water about 30 minutes. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The sea was calm with the water 20 – 30 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom with rocks scattered throughout the area. Water visibility was about 10 feet with an estimated temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Holmes reported;“I was sitting about 15 feet from another surfer to my left with about 6 to my right waiting for a set to come in. I looked down when I noticed something swimming toward me. I realized it was a shark and it swam alongside me, which is how I figured out what it was and it's length. It was a juvenile white shark about 7 feet in length. It looked right at me and when I said ‘There's a shark right here,' it turned toward the surfer to my left and then it swam away and disappeared. It was swimming slowly and just seemed to be checking us out. No one exited the water. I surfed for another 30 minutes and got out. Shark wasn't spotted again.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Worldwide Shark Attacks 2013
As the Director of the Global Shark Attack File the following Shark Attack data was confirmed and authenticated for 2013. It is provided as a public service to emphasize the rarity of these interactions when the number of ocean users, their total contact hours on or in the water is reviewed and compared to other hazards humans face in their daily lives. Additional information is available at; www.sharkattackfile.net .
Pacific Coast Shark Attacks During 2013
There were 5 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast of North America during 2013. There were 4 attacks recorded from California and 1 from Oregon. The attacks were distributed in the following months; June (1), August (2), October (1) and November (1). Activities of the victims were; 3 Surfing, 1 Kayaking, and 1 Swimming. The Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias, was positively identified or highly suspect in 4 of the 5 attacks, with a juvenile Salmon Shark, Lamna ditropis , the suspected causal species for the attack on the swimmer.
The publication “Shark Attacks of the Twentieth Century” authenticated 108 unprovoked shark attacks from the Pacific Coast between 1900 and 1999. The Great White Shark was implicated in 94 (87%) of the 108 confirmed attacks with an annual average of slightly more than one shark attack per year. The 5 cases reported for 2013 brings the total number of unprovoked shark attacks occurring along the Pacific Coast during the 21 st Century to 77. This is ‘three times' the Twentieth Century annual average of slightly more than 2 shark attack per year during the period 1950 – 1999. The Great White Shark was positively identified or highly suspect in 67 (88%) of the 77 attacks recorded during the 21 st Century. From 2000 to the present, 38 (49%) of the 77 confirmed shark attacks occurred during the three month period of August (12), September (9), and October (17). There have been 185 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast of North America from 1900 to 2013. The Great White Shark was positively identified or highly suspect in 161 (87%) of the 185 cases. There were 8 fatal shark attacks confirmed from 1900 to 1999 and 5 fatal attacks reported from 2000 to 2013. The 13 fatal attacks represent 7% of the 185 total cases.
Victim activity for the 77 shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast since 2000 are distributed in the following ocean user groups; surfers 51 (66%) of the documented attacks, with 6 swimmers (8%), 9 kayakers (12%), 4 divers (5%), 4 paddle boarders (5%), 1 windsurfer (1%), 1 fishing (1%), and 1 boogie boarder (1%). The number of shark-bitten stranded marine mammals reported in 2013 was greater than the prior year, especially in Santa Barbara County. The location and time of year, would suggest an increase in the number of Great White Sharks utilizing those specific areas, however, this might not be the result of an increase in their population but rather locations being targeted by sharks migrating to northern regions. The Shark Research Committee will continue to closely monitor these activities.
San Onofre State Beach On January 19, 2014 Dave Schulte was observing the surf a little North of Trail One, San Onofre State Beach. It was 1:00 PM and the air and water temperatures were estimated at 70 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Schulte reported;“I was on the bluff above an area known as ‘Echo Arch' just North of Trail One. While observing the surf conditions I saw a juvenile Great White Shark, about 5 feet in length, breach as it was heading North just outside the surf line about 50 yards from shore. Water visibility was 10 feet as I could easily observe the shark from my vantage point. I stayed another 15 minutes and saw it only briefly as it surfaced in the same area for a brief moment, then sounded.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On January 4, 2014 Jeffrey Wolfert was surfing at Ocean Beach, San Francisco. It was 7:30 AM and he had been on the water about 20 minutes. The sky was clear with a brisk breeze and an estimated air temperature in the 50s Fahrenheit. There was a wind and ground swell over a sandy ocean bottom 15 feet deep and an estimated water temperature in the upper 40s Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Wolfert recalled;“While sitting on my board waiting for a set I saw a triangular shaped dorsal fin pop up about 30 yards away. It cruised across the surface for about 15 yards toward me and another surfer, then submerged out of sight. I saw no other part of the shark.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.