Pacific Coast Shark News 2018
The following reports for 2018 are provided as a public service. They are intended to inform our visitors of current shark activities along the Pacific Coast of North America. To review Pacific Coast Shark News for 2003 click here, for 2004 click here, for 2005 click here, for 2006 news click here, for 2007 click here, for 2008 click here, for 2009 news click here, for 2010 news click here, for 2011 news click here, for 2012 news click here for 2013 click here for 2014 click here for 2015 click here for 2016 click here and for 2017 click here .
Stillwater Cove — On November 6, 2018 Jason Caulfield was Kayak fishing off Stillwater Cove in Sonoma County. It was 3:15 PM and he had been on the water about 1.5 hours. The sky was clear with a recorded temperature of 66 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was active with 6 – 10 foot swells and a strong outgoing tide. The sea surface temperature was recorded at 54 degrees Fahrenheit with the depth finder noted the ocean floor at 76 feet deep. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Caulfield reported;“I had been fishing for a short while just outside the mouth of Stillwater Cove. I was not paddling, just floating and sitting still. All of the sudden I received a hard knock on the rear right side of my kayak just behind the cockpit. Surprised I turned around and saw a large commotion and a glimpse of a tail fin re-entering the water. I began to look around in disbelief and within seconds a good sized White Shark, about a foot or two below the surface, passed on my left from stern to bow and appeared to be turned on its side as if to get a look at me. It then turned sharply in front of me then slowly crossed my path and circled my kayak to the right heading clockwise. After coming back around on my left I slowly began to paddle back towards shore and did not see the shark again. The shark was 12 – 15 feet in length with a blue grey upper body and a distinct line of separation to the white underbelly. The dorsal fin was approximately 2 – 3 feet high with 7 – 8 feet between the dorsal fin and tail. There was very prominent scarring visible around the eyes and head.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Marina State Beach — On October 16, 2018 Trent Davis was Stand Up Paddleborading at Marina State Beach in Monterey Bay. It was 11:00 AM and he had been on the water 10 – 15 minutes. The sky was clear with a light breeze and an estimated air temperature in mid-60s Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with a South swell over a sandy bottom 6 – 8 feet deep with a temperature of 63 – 64 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the immediate area. Davis reported;“I was approximately 75 yards from shore and paddling parallel to the beach to get to a small peak. A small set was coming and I started paddling hard to get in position to catch a wave. I was paddling on the right side to get my board turned to pick up the wave when I saw the dark figure come from behind me on the right. I immediately stopped paddling and stood there as it swam past me very slowly and turned directly in front of me less than 10 feet away. The tail was moving side to side and I could clearly see the shark was a White shark. Tail and dorsal were unmistakable. As it passed it went between me and the beach and was in probably 6 feet of water, fully submerged. The shark had a gray body and unmistakable dorsal and tail fins. I estimate the White Shark at 8 – 9 feet in length based on the size of my paddle board and could see the entire shark due to clear water. I stood there and watched it until it disappeared from my view and got myself in on the next wave. I calmly alerted two other surfers and when they came in one of them said they had heard a shark had been sighted a couple days prior and approximately the same size. I encounter Dolphin fairly regularly and can distinguish the difference without any doubt. I am close friends with one of the state lifeguards and called his cell to let him know. He said they would post a sighting sign.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Leadbetter Beach — On September 11, 2018 Karl Halamicek, Harbor Patrol Officer, City of Santa Barbara reported; “At approximately 1400 hours, a City Lifeguard called Harbor Patrol and reported seeing a shark approximately 50 yards off Leadbetter Beach. He said he was on a paddled board and was approximately 2 feet from the shark when he saw it. He estimated the shark to be about 6 feet in length. He said the shark was dark gray with a white belly and had a rounded fin that moved side to side (caudal). He observed the shark for several minutes then it departed.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Shell Beach — On August 1, 2018 Kristen Sanchez was paddling an outrigger with two companions 0.75 miles from shore about 50 feet Southeast of White Rock at Shell Beach in San Luis Obispo County at 6:50 PM. The recorded air and water temperatures were 61 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. There was a mild 5 MPH breeze from the ESE. Marine mammals were present in the area. Sanchez reported;“I was paddling with my outrigger canoe club. We had just rounded White Rock, a small emergent rock off of Shell Beach, and our 3 canoes were gathered up, discussing our next moves. I happened to be looking toward the rock when I saw the entire white underbelly (12 – 14 feet long, broad jaws, massive body, both pectoral fins splayed) as it emerged from the water, blood streaming from its mouth. When the shark resurfaced, I was able to see the grey dorsal fin and the tail fin, as it thrashed and submerged. A couple more disturbances on the water, a crimson pool, and a bird feeding frenzy...then nothing. It was difficult to tell what the shark had attacked but there had been 2 large rafts of Sea Otters that had been resting in separate kelp beds, nearby, and were all now disturbed. Moments before the attack, my canoe had passed through the area and I witnessed a single otter swimming in open water between kelp beds. I would guess this was the victim. We did not paddle over to investigate remnants.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Monterey Bay — On August 1, 2018 Eric Keener was spearfishing for California Halibut, Paralichthys californicus, at Del Monte Beach in Monterey Bay. It was 10:00 AM and he had been in the water for 1.75 hours. Air and water temperatures were recorded at 59 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The sky was overcast, dark grey with a calm ocean surface. There was a 3 foot NorthWest swell over a primarily sandy ocean bottom with a few rocks and sparse short statured kelp plants. Water visibility was about 5 feet with a recorded depth of 34 feet. No marine mammals were observed in the water, however, there was a dead Harbor Seal, Phoca vitulina, on the beach. Keener reported; “I was spearfishing for halibut. I dove about 15 times in water less than 20 feet deep without any luck. I decided to go out further. The beach is very shallow so I had to swim quite a ways out to get to depths of deeper than 30 feet. I found a spot that looked good for halibut (i.e. structure, sand, vegetation on bottom, and baitfish). On my second dive at this depth, I was on the bottom for about 45 seconds when I looked to my right to see a Great White Shark swimming parallel to me. Upon making eye contact with it, it made one movement in closer to me until about 5 feet from me. When I jolted from being startled and alarmed, it casually swam away. It was not perpendicular, but more at a diagonal as it swam off. I would estimate the shark to be 8 – 10 feet in length.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Pacifica — On July 27, 2018 Kris Lopez was surfing with 4 unidentified surfers at Pacifica State Beach, more commonly referred to as Linda Mar Beach by locals. It was 1:25 PM and he had been on the water about 30 minutes. The sky was overcast with a light wind and an estimated air temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with an estimated water temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit over a sandy ocean bottom about 20 feet deep. There were many sea birds and a large unidentified whale in the area feeding on bait fish. Lopez reported;“We, the 4 surfers and me, were sitting on our boards in the lineup facing oncoming waves when a 10 – 12 foot Great White Shark completely breached out of the water. There was a large amount of pelicans and seagulls flying into the water and it appeared they were eating something. There were baitfish and salmon present as it is that time of year. Once we saw the shark I yelled to the others ‘that was a shark!’ An old timer in the lineup said ‘time to go in’ so we all paddled for our lives. We all made it in safely and told onlookers onshore what we witnessed. When the shark breached we could see its white belly and a very large mouth.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Monica — On July 26, 2018 Tim O’Leary was surfing between lifeguard towers 29 and 30 in Santa Monica. It was 5:00 PM and he had been on the water about 15 minutes. The sky was overcast with the air temperature estimated at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was choppy with an estimated temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit and 4 – 5 foot waves over a sandy ocean bottom. No marine mammals were observed in the area. O’Leary recalled;“I was in the water, alone, for about 15 minutes. I'd taken a couple waves and was waiting for the next one looking out to sea, when I saw a 2 – 3 foot dorsal fin and part of the back of a large gray shark surface and cut across an incoming swell, heading North, parallel to shore. I couldn't tell how big it was, but from what I could see it was big. I quickly turned towards shore and started paddling, then paused to scan for it again, but couldn't find it. I then caught the next wave in, spoke with the lifeguard, who agreed that it was likely a Great White Shark. I kept scanning the water, but didn't see it again, and moved North to life guard tower 27 where there were some surfers and I continued body boarding for another hour. The surfers had not seen any sharks that day.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ventura — On July 23, 2018 Victor Malfonado was surfing at Rincon Beach 3 miles East of Carpinteria adjacent to the Ventura/Santa Barbara County line. It was 3:30 PM and he had been on the water 30 minutes. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 85 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The sky was clear and the sea calm over a sandy ocean bottom 10 feet deep. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Malfonado reported:“While I was boogie boarding at Rincon Beach I observed a shark approximately 100 feet offshore swimming in wave break. It is possible that there were 2 sharks 5 – 7 feet in length. I only saw the shark one time for a few seconds then they were gone. I did not see them again during the time I was on the water or while visiting the beach.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ventura — On July 10, 2018 Andy Kastenberg reported the following; "I took a paddle from North of Emma Wood State Beach in Ventura to the South part of the inner reef at about 1:00 PM PST. A small South swell mixed with some wind swell was showing. The West wind was just starting to puff but the water texture was still pretty glassy. Outside air temperature was an estimated 80+ degrees Fahrenheit and the water seemed to be nearing 70 degrees Fahrenheit. After catching a wave or two, a 6 foot shark appeared in the face of a set wave (four foot face). Without expertise, my guess is that it was a young Great White Shark. Another guy in the water said that he had seen one in the area for several days prior as did another surfer back up the beach where I had parked." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Goleta — On July 2, 2018 Aaron Lauer reported the following; "I was working off Goleta on platform Holly, about 2 miles from the Santa Barbara Coast at Coal Oil Point. The platform is in 211 feet of water. I sighted a White Shark, approximately 12 feet long, a dark grey body and a white belly with a dorsal fin about 18 inches high. There was also a small white tip on the tail fin. It circled the platform slowly once and then headed off to the South, following the coast toward Santa Barbara. A consensus of opinions by myself and co-workers estimated the weight to be in excess of 400 pounds. A number of seals reside on the platform which might be the reason the shark was attracted to it. None of the seals were interested in leaving the platform during this time." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Oceanside — On June 25, 2018 Julie Wolfe was paddling her outrigger canoe 2 miles due West of Oceanside Harbor entrance. It was 6:00 PM and she had been on the water 25 – 30 minutes. The late afternoon sky was clear with an estimated temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with an estimated temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit and a mild breeze from the West creating a bump to the sea surface. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Wolfe reported; "I was paddling by myself when my canoe was hit HARD from underneath. I immediately turned around and paddled as fast as I could toward shore. I never saw the shark and wasn't sure if it was following me or not until about a minute later it tugged at my paddle! I made it into the harbor safe but my carbon fiber canoe has bite marks through and through . My canoe took on water. Terrifying two mile sprint in!" 'Interspace' measurements of the tooth impressions in her outrigger canoe suggest a White Shark 11 – 12 feet in length. This is the first confirmed unprovoked shark attack reported in 2018 from the Pacific Coast of North America. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Venice — On June 12, 2018 Gary (last name withheld) reported the following:"It was about 3:40 PM and I was at Venice Beach. The air temperature was about 70 degrees Fahrenheit with low turbulent surf at Lifeguard Station 21, which is North of Venice Pier. I had been in the water 20 minutes boogie boarding, approximately 30 yards from shore, when I saw a 6 – 8 foot shark swim across the face of a breaking wave. The shark was swimming parallel with the shore, traveling South. The shark was at an angle away from me probably 20 yards and South of me. There were no marine mammals in the area. I was in chest deep water and made my way to shore, observing the area continuously for another 10 minutes or so. I did not see it again." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ventura — On June 11, 2018 Bartt Bramwell was surfing at Emma Wood State Beach in Ventura County. It was 6:30 AM and he had been on the water about 16 minutes. It was sunny and clear with an estimated air temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with a 4 – 5 foot swell and a mild offshore breeze. The water was about 8 feet deep over a cobblestone bottom with 4 feet of water visibility and an estimated temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Bramwell reported; "I was sitting on my surfboard waiting for some waves and I saw a great white shark breach completely out of the water about 150 yards beyond where I was sitting. I was able to see the Great White Shark's grey top and white bottom, as well as it's thick, bulbous body/head. It was 8 – 10 feet in length. I to the beach to observe for another 15 minutes and did not see any more of the shark." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
New Brighton State Beach — On June 3, 2018 Gideon Steinberg was kayak fishing in Monterey Bay about 0.25 miles off New Brighton State Beach located East of Santa Cruz in Capitola. It was 12:00 PM and he had been on the water about 20 minutes. The sky was clear with a mild 5 – 7 knot wind and an estimated air temperature in the mid-80s Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm over a primarily sandy ocean bottom with a varying depth of 10 – 30 feet. Water visibility was 3 – 6 feet with an estimated temperature in the low 50s Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area, however, a large number of Bat Rays had been utilizing this area over the prior month. Steinberg reporte;”The first of three Great White Shark's was about 12 feet in length and rather interested in me and moving slightly faster than just cruising speed. It swam in front of me perpendicular to me and looked right at me, it then circled to my side parallel to me and turned to swim within 3 feet under my kayak. I paddled away and it followed me a little bit. Later a 10 foot Great White Shark approached me with its fin out of the water. It examined me and then left. Following the second encounter another Great White Shark, this one 8 – 10 feet in length, came right to the surface of the water and then dove down right behind me making a large boil at the surface. I did not see any of the three sharks following this encounter with the smaller of the three." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Grover Beach — On June 2, 2018 Pamela Ellgen was surfing at Grover Beach in the Oceano Dunes Natural Preserve in San Luis Obispo County. It was 12:00 PM and she had been on the water about 15 minutes. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 70 and 53 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The surf was running 2 – 3 feet with the wind less than 5 knots. The water was 8 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom with like visibility as the bottom could be seen easily from the surface. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Ellgen recalled;"I paddled out to the lineup at Oceano/Grover Beach alone. There was one jet skier (a lifeguard), a stand-up paddle boarder, and one surfer visible from my location but not near me. The water was beautiful and crystal clear. I could see the ocean floor about 8 feet beneath me. I surfed a couple waves and then waited for another. I was about 20 yards outside of where smaller waves were consistently breaking waiting for set waves. While sitting on my board, I looked into the water and saw the shark swim about 4 feet away from me. It was not between me and the shoreline and was underwater at a depth of about 4 feet below the surface. The White Shark swam past and away from me and did not appear interested in me at all. Its swimming pattern and shape was obviously different than a dolphin's, so there was no mistaking it at all. I immediately laid on my stomach on the board and gave a few paddles, making sure the shark wasn't heading back toward me or directly under me. I made a couple more paddles until I could get pushed in by the surf a little more. A bigger wave broke behind me, I moved to the back of the board and belly-rode the wash in as far as I could. I reported the sighting to a lifeguard who said he had seen the same White Shark and confirmed its size at about 8 feet in length. He said it was one of four other sightings that day. Three hours later, while walking North on the beach toward the Pismo Beach Pier, my husband saw another White Shark breech. Again, it was distinctly different than the swimming pattern or body shape of a dolphin. We reported this to the lifeguards as well. Later, we learned that in early May, several White Sharks were seen by pilots and video was captured using drones." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Goleta — On June 2, 2018 Claire Zellmer and an unidentified companion were kayaking to Platform Holly, located 2 miles from shore in over 200 feet of water. It is near the town of Goleta in Santa Barbara County. The kayak red and about 12 feet in length. The paddles were blue and white. The sky was clear with little wind and an estimated air temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It was 11:30 AM and they had been on the water about 1 hour. The ocean was calm with an occasional light chop. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Zellmer reported;"We were kayaking to platform Holly and were paddling smoothly at a constant pace. The White Shark came from behind us on the left on the surface of the water and dove, circling back to the left and then circled to the right and disappeared. Within 30 seconds it came back on the left again on the surface of the water and nudged the back end of the kayak with its nose and swam very slowly down the length of the kayak and then dove again to the left and was gone. The shark was very calm and calculated in its movements and was clearly curious what was inside the kayak. The White Shark was bigger than our two person kayak, dark dorsal side and white underbelly. We slowly started paddling back to shore and did not see it again." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Seacliff State Beach — On May 31, 2018 Hannah Thackery was walking along the pier at Seacliff State Beach located on Monterey Bay in the town of Aptos in Santa Curz County. It was about 12:20 PM under a sunny sky with a brisk wind and an estimated air temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Thackery reported;"While walking on the pier I observed a Great White Shark swimming toward the pier. It swam under the pier and was not seen again. This is a location where previous sightings of Great White Sharks are not uncommon." Please report any shark sighting, encounter or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Barbara — On May 13, 2018 Nathaniel Hunter was surfing at Mesa Lane Beach in Santa Barbara. It was about 10:00 AM with an overcast sky and a glassy sea surface with little to no wind. Hunter reported the following;"I went surfing at Mesa Lane early Sunday morning. I entered the water around 9:00 AM. While sitting in the lineup for about an hour I noticed a commotion out by the kelp beds to the left of the reef about 100 yards from shore. After a couple seconds I noticed a large dorsal fin resembling that of a White Shark. I see Dolphins out at Mesa Lane all the time and have become quite familiar with their shape. For about 15 – 20 seconds the White Shark seemed to be thrashing around and feeding on some sort of prey. Throughout the entire encounter, I saw parts of the dorsal and tail fin quite clearly. Once the commotion ended, I didn't see any trace of the shark or of any prey in the vicinity." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Cataline Island — On May 8, 2018 Tom Hulahan reported;"I was fishing on the charter boat 'Sports King' off Catalina Island. The water temperature was about 63 degrees Fahrenheit. We were fishing about 100 yards off shore and a mile North of the Boy Scout Camp. Suddenly 40 yards off the port side stern we saw a large splash. Then we saw a massive amount of blood in the water. A few moments later we saw a large Great White Shark, 15 feet in length, with a seal in its mouth. We watched the shark as it ate the seal. Within about 2 minutes the seal was completely gone." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach — On May 8, 2018 Mark Wolff was surfing 'Middles Trestles,' about 50 yards south of the lifeguard station, at San Onofre State Beach. It was about 2:30 PM and he had been on the water 15 – 20 minutes. The sky was clear with a mild NW breeze and an estimated air temperature of 67 degrees Fahrenheit. He was about 35 – 50 yards from shore with a slight textured to the sea surface over a cobblestone reef 8 feet deep with comparable visibility as the bottom could be viewed from the surface. Wolff reported;"I was surfing alone at Middles Trestles when I heard a disturbance in the water about 50 feet due South of my position. I saw a small Sea Lion's head peek above the surface as the water appeared to boil around it. I continued watching and realized it was being attacked by a shark. In the few seconds I lingered, I saw the shark's white underbelly, a pectoral fin, the dorsal fin, and its caudal fin. I could also see a great deal of blood in the water. I paddled to shore as fast as I could and was joined by someone walking by. As we watched the attack, the shark surfaced several more times. The shark moved so quickly that it almost looked as if there were 2 sharks in the water. It looked like a White Shark but it might have been bigger than the 6 – 8 foot White Sharks we typically see, but I only caught quick glimpses of it as it thrashed around in the water. Within a few minutes, seagulls began circling above the shark, but the birds only circled and didn't dive. The shark appeared to leave the area immediately after the attack. I didn't see which way it went. The birds lingered a for a few minutes then slowly dispersed. I immediately reported the event to the lifeguards at Camp Pendleton. On my way, I met another surfer who said he saw a small Sea Lion swimming North from Church a few minutes prior to the attack." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach — On May 6, 2018 Leo Simone was surfing 'Old Man's' at San Onofre State Beach. It was 1:35 PM and he had been on the water about 20 minutes. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 70 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit , respectively. There was a 2 – 3 foot swell and light chop over a sandy ocean bottom 8 – 10 feet deep with 5 – 10 feet of underwater visibility. Simone reported; "I went back in for a second session after a two hour morning session. I caught a wave rode it and as I approached the line up while paddling back out I noticed that the other surfers, 6 or 8, we’re laying on their boards and appeared to be following my activity. When I was approximately 30 – 40 feet from the group they said; 'It's coming your way.' I looked in front of me and saw the shark as it was about 10 feet directly in front of me. I remained laying on top of the board as it crossed diagonally under the nose of my board from left to right and swam along the right side of my board in the direction of the shore. It was close enough to touch. It turned back toward the group of other surfers on the lineup. The dorsal fin broke the water twice and that was the last that saw of it. I caught the next wave in and called it a day. The shark did not act in an aggressive manner. It swam slowly. It was about 8 feet in length with a girth of 18 – 24 inches and a dark triangular shaped dorsal fin. When I spoke to other surfers that were out there they said there was a total of three sharks in the area, and the one that I saw was the larger of the three." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach — On April 26, 2018 Chris Claypool was surfing El Porto in Manhattan Beach. It was 5:30 PM and he had been on the water about 25 minutes. Water temperature was estimated at 58 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The water was 10 feet deep with a choppy sea surface over a sandy ocean bottom. Air temperature was estimated in the low 60s Fahrenheit with a brisk wind and a clear sky. There were 3 – 5 dolphins observed in the area prior to the encounter. Claypool reported;“Before the encounter I noticed several pelicans dive bombing in proximity to me. I had just paddled for a wave and missed it. I hadn't gone very far in from where I attempted to catch the wave, and turned around to the horizon in a sort of sitting position on my surfboard when I saw a very large dorsal fin, that was triangular in shape. It had already come out of the water and was on its way back down. The shark was grey, and very large, with a dorsal fin about 2 feet high. I estimate the shark to be about 2 to 2.5 times the length of my 5 foot 4 inch Fish design surfboard. I could see its back and its tail. I have seen juveniles before and this did not look like a juvenile, which is why I turned around before it fully submerged and headed in to shore. A small wave came in and I paddled as quickly and quietly as I could. I got out and followed the shark as it swam from North to South. I lost it after about 100 feet of walking.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Carpinteria — On April 11, 2018 Peter Howorth, Director of the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center, reported the following; "An adult harbor seal was attacked at the Carpinteria seal rookery shortly after 0900 hrs. this morning. It came ashore bleeding heavily. It had a flap of skin hanging from its back, typical of the upper jaws of a white shark, and slash marks on its belly, typical of the holding pattern from the lower jaw of a white shark. The shark was estimated at 9 or 10 feet long, considerably smaller than the shark that killed two harbor seals on Wednesday, March 28. It (harbor seal) was harassed by gulls and went into and out of the water several times. It was active, but it is not known whether or not it will survive." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Carpinteria — On March 29, 2018 Duke Howard reported the following; "I paddled again today. It was sunny with 3 – 5 feet of underwater visibility. I observed a Great White Shark, about 7 feet in length, 30 – 40 yards from shore between Slough Creek and Padaro Point. I noticed what I believe to be a tag on its dorsal fin. Sometime later I came upon a second shark about the same size but with no tag. Again, they were unconcerned with my board and me." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Carpinteria — March 28, 2018 Peter Howorth, Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center, reported the following in the Santa Barbara News Press, March 30, 2018; "Two harbor seals were killed by a great white shark off Carpinteria on Wednesday. A witness, who was not identified, told Carpinteria Seal Watch volunteer Curt Coughlin at about 9:30AM Wednesday that he had just witnessed the attacks. The person showed up out of breath at the observation point on the bluff above the rookery and said, 'Your seal count will be two short today.' He explained that he had just seen a great white leap out of the water near shore with a seal in its mouth and that he had seen another seal attacked at the same location the same morning. Mr. Coughlin checked the rookery and saw no signs of the attacks. He went further east and saw a harbor seal with a large bite out of its back. He estimated the bite diameter at about 18 inches. A shark of that size would have been approximately 14 to 16 feet long, either an immature great white or a young adult. The seal was prone in the surf and Mr. Coughlin thought it was still alive because its head was moving, but soon realized that it was just being pushed by small waves. The News-Press received the report late that afternoon. On Thursday, the beach was examined from the rookery down to Rincon Point, over a mile east, but no signs of any injured seals were seen. The park host was informed and checked the area again Friday but saw nothing. On Friday, however, one, or possibly two, shark-bitten, dead harbor seals washed ashore at Carpinteria State Beach, according to lifeguards. Also, a California sea lion came ashore with its intestines hanging out. It went back out to sea but is not expected to survive. It may have also been a victim of a shark attack. The beach was surveyed Friday afternoon, but no animals, either living or dead, were found. An oil industry worker mentioned that he had seen a small great white from the Casitas Pier in Carpinteria in February and a 12 to 14-footer two weeks ago." The SBMMC and the Shark Research Committee have corroborated on numerous shark/pinniped projects for more than 30 years. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Carpinteria — On March 28, 2018 Duke Howard reported the following; "I went paddleboarding earlier today. At about 11:00 AM it was sunny with limited water visibility. I observed two juvenile Great White Sharks, each about 7 feet in length, 30 yards from the beach and 0.5 miles up from my house in the cove between Padaro Point and Santa Claus Beach. They did not appear to be that interested in my SUP or me. One was on the surface in front of me with its dorsal fin exposed and the other was to the rear. At about 2:00 PM I went for a second paddle and saw two juvenile Great White Sharks each about 7 feet in length. They probably were the same sharks I had observed earlier in the day. However, this time they were only three or four houses from my entry location just above the 'Slough Creek.' They were still fairly close to each other and again were unconcerned by my presence." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Carpinteria — On March 19, 2018 Duke Howard reported the following; "Just in from a paddle. Calm. Limited water visibility. Sunny. Went to Point (Padaro) and back. Saw a seal and about six or seven dolphins. Saw a 6 – 7 foot white shark right in front of my house when I got back. It crossed my bow, under the water, about as close as 3 feet in front of me on its way out. It is not too deep where I encounter the shark. Maybe about 20 yards out just outside the small breakers. This took place about 1:20 PM." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Torrey Pines State Beach — On March 23, 2018 Tony B. (last name withheld) reported the following; "I was surfing at North Torrey Pines State Beach, San Diego. It was 8:30 AM and I had been in the water about 30 minutes. The water was 8 feet deep with a sandy bottom and a recorded temperature of 59 degrees. There were 3 – 4 foot swells with the surface water calm beyond the surf line. The sky was partly cloudy with a temperature of 63 degrees and a slight bump on the water. I was sitting on my board about 30 yards from shore waiting for a wave. I had seen several dolphins earlier that morning, which was not unusual. I suddenly notice a very large, at least 24 inches high, black triangular fin surface 20 yards south of me. The shark came from the south heading north in the surf line. The shark then descended with the fin going completely underwater. I would estimate the distance from the dorsal fin to the tail to be about 7 feet. I went ashore with a group of other surfers. Several of them had chased down park and recreation lifeguards to report the incident. I have been surfing this area for more than 15 years and have never seen anything like this. I am extremely familiar with the abundance of the local mammals and sharks but this one was very large and very close to shore. The size and shape of the dorsal fin, and distance from it to the tail, suggests a White Shark as the species most likely involved in this encounter. 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.
Bolinas — On February 4, 2018 Caleb Arata was surfing about 100 feet from shore at the Channel in Bolinas. It was 9:50 AM and he had been on the water about 45 minutes. It was an incoming tide with a 1 – 2 foot swell and a light ‘chop’ to the sea surface. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 56 degrees Fahrenheit. Some 10 – 20 minutes prior to seeing the shark in the channel, I caught a wave and surfed all the way to the Stinson Beach side of the channel, where I saw a seal in about ankle deep water. It was about 10 feet away from me before it swam out into deeper water. Arata recalled; “There were about 100 surfers and a single kayaker in the Bolinas Channel, between Bolinas and Stinson Beach. I was sitting inside to catch small waves, while the occasional 3 foot wave would break 50 feet further out. There were 2 – 3 surfers further out, to catch the occasional 3 foot wave. Looking out to sea I saw the dorsal fin of a shark slowly pierce the top of the water. It was past where the larger waves would break, I would estimate 75 feet from me and 25 feet from the surfer’s further out. The fin and side of the shark were grey. It gently rolled sideways, and I saw a glimpse of white from its belly. This was not a fast or violent movement. The shark, now somewhat sideways, sank back under the water and was not seen again. It is hard to estimate size beyond the fact that the shark was large. The surfers I could see between me and the shark, 50 – 100 feet away, were on longboards, 8 – 11 feet in length. Judging from the part of the shark visible, I would estimate the total length of the shark to be greater than the length of a longboard. At least two other people saw the shark. While I have never seen a white shark in person, I do not know what else it could be. I am familiar with the appearance of white sharks from photographs and documentaries. We informed the sole kayaker of the sighting, which he seemed to understand. He proceeded to paddle out to roughly where the shark was seen, and last I saw he was by himself, catching waves. We cautiously made our way to the beach.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
January 24, 2018 NEWS RELEASE Pacific Coast Shark Attacks During 2017
There were 9 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast of North America during 2017, with none fatal. There were 8 attacks recorded from California and 1 from Washington. The attacks were distributed in the following months; March (1), April (1), July (4) August (1), November (1), and December (1). There was 1 shark attack reported south of the southern Santa Barbara County line, with the remaining 8 attacks from Santa Barbara County north. The single Washington shark attack occurred at the Grays Harbor jetty in Westport. Activities of the victims were; Kayaking 4, Surfing 2, Paddleboarding 1, Freediving 1, and Swimming 1. The Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias, was positively identified or highly suspect in all 9 of the attacks.
The publication “Shark Attacks of the Twentieth Century” authenticated 108 unprovoked shark attacks from the Pacific Coast between 1900 and 1999. The Great White Shark was implicated in 94 (87%) of the 108 confirmed attacks with an annual average of slightly more than one shark attack per year. The 9 cases reported for 2017 brings the total number of unprovoked shark attacks occurring along the Pacific Coast during the 21st Century to 103. This is ‘six times’ the Twentieth Century annual average of slightly more than one shark attack per year. The Great White Shark was positively identified or highly suspect in 92 (89%) of the 103 attacks recorded during the 21st Century. From 2000 to the present, 51 (50%) of the 103 confirmed shark attacks occurred during the three month period of August (16), September (13), and October (22). There have been 211 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast of North America from 1900 thru 2017. The Great White Shark was positively identified or highly suspect in 186 (88%) of the 211 cases. There were 8 fatal shark attacks confirmed from 1900 to 1999 and 5 fatal attacks reported from 2000 to 2017. The 13 fatal attacks represent 6% of the 211 total cases.
Victim activity for the 103 shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast since 2000 are distributed in the following ocean user groups; surfing 62 (60%), kayaking 17 (17%), swimming 8 (8%), diving 6 (6%), paddleboarding 6 (6%), outrigger 1 (1%), windsurfing 1 (1%), fishing 1 (1%), and boogie boarding 1 (1%). There was an increase in the number of Great White Shark observations, encounters, and interactions with ‘pinnipeds,’ reported in 2017. The Shark Research Committee will continue to closely monitor these activities.
Carpinteria — On January 2, 2018 Emma Huebner was Stand-Up-Paddleboarding with her father and sister between Padaro and Summerland Beaches in Carpinteria. It was 2:30 PM and they had been on the water about 1.5 hours. The sky was overcast with an estimated air temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with 1 – 2 feet of water visibility and an estimated temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Huebner reported; "According to my dad and sister, who were behind me paddling in, the shark appeared to be following me as I paddled toward shore. We were about 200 yards offshore when I saw the shark and started in immediately when I saw the shark. My dad said that the shark followed me for a bit before disappearing beneath the surface. I observed the shark's dorsal fin and tail fin surface right next to my paddleboard, towards the back of the board. My dad and sister were in kayaks and observed the shark as well. Estimation of the shark's length compared to the length of my board was 9 feet." Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.