Pacific Coast Shark News 2015
The following reports for 2015 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 and for 2014 click here.
NOTICE Expedition Filled I would like to thank you for your interest in our November 21 – 25, 2015 Shark Research Committee Expedition to Isla de Guadalupe Island. We have filled all available spaces, however, if a deposit is not made by May 1st that reservation will become open. If you responded earlier and did not make our reservation list, you will become eligible for any vacancies that arise. I will keep you posted on future field expeditions.
San Clemente On April 11, 2015 Fred Swegles of the Orange County Register reported the following;“ Marine safety officials temporarily closed access to the ocean off San Clemente's city beaches Monday morning following a reported sighting of a Great White Shark off the end of the Municipal Pier. Marine Safety Officer Nick Giugni said lifeguards prohibited people from going into the water from North Beach to Lasuen Beach at 9:40 a.m. as a precaution after a fisherman reported the sighting and verified it with a photograph. Giugni said the sighting was at 9:18 a.m. and lifeguards took action as soon as it was reported. The shark was observed swimming from North to South 50 feet off the pier for about 30 seconds. San Clemente's pier is nearly 1,300 feet long. City lifeguards notified San Clemente State Beach lifeguards just South of city beaches. Lifeguards at those beaches decided to give public announcement warnings to beachgoers.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On April 10, 2015 Rudy (last name withheld by request) and his son and a companion were surfing at Trail 1, San Onofre State Beach. It was 7:30 AM and they had been on the water about 15 minutes. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 65 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The sky was clear with a light texture on the ocean surface over a rocky/sand bottom about 6 feet deep. Water visibility was limited to 1 or 2 feet. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Rudy reported;“My son and his friend and I had just paddled out North of Trail 1. It was an extremely low tide. Just as we got out in the lineup my son's friend to a small wave to the beach. My son then looked at me and said; ‘Dad I just saw a fin and it was not a dolphin.' He turned to go in and as I turned to look out to sea I saw a fin about 8 inches long roughly 15 yards away. I told my son's friend to paddle slowly to the beach.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On April 1, 2015 Mark Wolff was surfing Trail 1 at San Onofre State Beach. It was 1:00 PM and he had been on the water about 1 hour. The sky was clear with a mild SW breeze and an estimated air temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a 3 – 5 foot SW swell and a light surface wind chop over a sandy bottom with some scattered rock. The visibility was 2 – 4 feet due to suspended sand with an estimated temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Wolff reported;“I was surfing alone at Trail 1 and in the water for about an hour when a shark, with a dark upper body and approximately 6 feet in length, swam by me. It was swimming slowly just below the surface of the water and exhibited no aggressive or curious behavior toward me. From what I could see, its body looked somewhat slender, without significant bulk at its midsection. At one point its dorsal fin appeared about 4 – 6 inches above the surface of the water. Unlike the dorsal fin of a dolphin, this fin was curved at the anterior with no discernible rake at the posterior; the backside appeared to drop almost vertically at 90 degrees from the tip. After the shark passed, I slowly paddled to the inside and returned to shore. There have been numerous similar sightings in this area by various people over the past few weeks.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On March 30, 2015 Xavier Stevens was surfing 75 yards from shore at Trail 1, San Onofre State Beach. It was 1:20 PM and he had been on the water about 90 minutes. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 70 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The surf was 6 – 8 feet with water visibility limited to 3 – 4 feet. Stevens reported;“I saw a Seal/Sea Lion about 30 yards inside of me maybe 30 minutes before the encounter. It looked like it was fishing. I saw it come up and then dive. I had been surfing over the rocky reef section by myself. There was a standup paddler about 100 yards South of my position. The shark approached towards me directly and I noticed its fin tracking about 20 yards away. I caught a shadow profile when it was backlit in a wave. I'm estimating it was 6 – 8 feet long. Dorsal fin was probably somewhere in the 10 – 12 inch range. It was staying near the surface and swimming at an easy pace towards me. I did not feel threatened in any way, but I exited the water immediately out of caution.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Hollywood Beach On March 28, 2015 Kyle Newman was surfing Hollywood Beach in Oxnard. It was 2:30 PM and he had been joined by 5 other surfers. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean had a light chop with 5 – 6 foot waves over a sandy-reef bottom. No marine mammals were observed. Newman reported;“Out of the corner of my eye I saw this dolphin looking animal jump vertically out of the water about 20 feet from me. I saw the white belly and the shark wiggling, which made us think it was a Great White Shark. All of us were in shock and started paddling towards shore. The shark was about 6 – 7 feet in length and its tail was 3 feet out of the water.“ Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On March 27, 2015 Dave Schulte was surfing Trail 1 at San Onofre State Beach. It was 3:30 PM and he had been on the water about 10 minutes. The sky was clear with the swell 3 – 5 feet over a rocky/sandy bottom about 10 feet deep. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Schulte reported;“I was joined by four other guys that had just paddled out at Trail One on the North end in front of the underground river outlet toward Echo Arch area. This is the same location where I have videotaped Great White Sharks in the past. Just to the North of us a 6 foot Great White Shark showed its dorsal fin several times in a somewhat aggressive manner and very close to one guy as he paddled back out after riding a wave. We moved South of this location and surfed for a long while. While in this location I did notice it come to the surface briefly again as I was waiting for a wave. Several people reported seeing several Great White Sharks today and last week including an incident with a 12+ foot Great White Shark and two smaller sharks at Trail One last week that prompted them to get out of the water. From what I have been hearing there are many sharks cruising at Trail One over the past few weeks, with multiple sharks being seen simultaneously.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Pismo Beach On March 25, 2015 Ron Johnson, and several unidentified companions, were surfing off Pismo Beach. It was 9:00 to 9:15 AM and they were about 100 yards from shore. They had observed 5 – 6 seals in the area prior to the encounter. While looking out toward the open ocean he observed a dorsal fin, 10 – 15 yards from his location. The fin was triangular and was coming from the South toward the end of the Pismo Beach Pier. He observed the fin traveling across the surface of the water for 5 – 10 seconds before it submerged out of sight. Johnson and his companions believe the shark was about 12 feet in length. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On March 22, 2015 Bill Wilson reported the following;“A group of surfers, probably 20 – 25, were surfing at ‘The Point' at San Onofre State Beach when a shark, 7 – 8 feet in length, launched itself vertically, straight up, out of the water, becoming completely airborne and then landing back in the water, 30 – 40 yards outside of the surf zone. It was about 11:30 AM and the water was calm with a smooth surface and very little wind. The surf was small, 1 – 3 feet, with the water temperature in the low 60s Fahrenheit. The sky was clear with an estimated temperature close to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The shark could have been a juvenile Great White but did not appear to have the girth of a larger Great White. It was very spectacular but not many of the other surfers, excluding my daughter Emma and I, saw the episode from when the shark emerged until it landed back in the water. Everyone stayed calm with most continuing to surf. My daughter and I moved more toward the inside closer to shore but continued to surf for another 30 – 40 minutes before getting out. Other surfers and spectators on the beach, including ‘Mom's' watching their kids, seem unfazed.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Capitola On March 15, 2015 Matthew Davault and Sean Walker were kayak fishing for California Halibut (Paralichthys californicus) 1.5 miles from shore and 1.5 miles South of Capitola in Santa Cruz County on the coast of Monterey Bay. It was 10:00 AM and they had been on the water about 2 hours. The sky was clear with a very mild breeze and an estimated air temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm over a sandy flat bottom 60 feet deep with 20 plus feet of visibility and an estimated temperature of 58 degrees Fahrenheit. Birds were diving on schools of baitfish at the surface. They had caught 2 rockfish that were released. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Davault reported;“My buddy Sean and I launched from the Capitola wharf by 8am in pursuit of an early season Halibut. The conditions were remarkably calm. A slight breeze first thing in the morning quickly gave way to warm morning sunshine. We slowly trolled bounce ball rigs out to where birds could be seen working bait balls which were boiling against the surface. We had just adjusted our trajectory so as to troll parallel to the shore line, more or less in line with the Cement Ship. Sean was at my left side, about 25 feet away keeping similar pace. I was focused on my rod, feeling the weight skip across the bottom in 60 feet of water as we trolled in silence. All at once there was a firm blow to the front of my kayak, sufficient to lift the bow up out of the water. At that same instant, on my left side, the water exploded as a shark breached through the surface. The top half of its back cleared out of the water. I could clearly see the head, dorsal fin and quite a long portion of its back as it made reentry back into the water. The tail was the last thing I saw, pumping back and forth several times, it kicked up a considerable volume of water and spray into the air, and my face. The shark tore back into the foamy frothy water it had just stirred up. Then it was silent, just as it was one moment ago. The entire encounter lasted all of one second. The shark had already reentered the water and was gone by the time my brain was even able to compute what had just happened. I think it hit my kayak with its back and or dorsal fin, not mouth. Perhaps a last minute aborted attack resulting in more of a collision than an full on attack. We rafted up for about 30 minutes but the shark did not return.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ventura On March 14, 2015 Erica Gordon was whale watching on a commercial vessel off Mandalay Estuary and McGrath Lake in Ventura County. It was 1:45 PM and the sky was clear with a slight breeze and an estimated air temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with a small swell over a sandy ocean bottom about 16 feet deep. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Gordon reported;“We were on a catamaran with Island Packers, boat captain mentioned several shark sightings the last few days. He knew exactly where to go. He idled in shallow water and within just a minute, 4 sharks were visible at the surface. He said they were babies, probably born recently. Sharks were grey and 3 – 4 feet long swimming through the waves towards the boat. Both dorsal and tail fin were out of the water. They stayed in the murkier water areas. The sharks were just a few dozen feet from shore!” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On March 14, 2015 Reggie A. (last name withheld) was surfing at Trail 1, San Onofre State Beach. It was about 9:00 or 9:30 AM and he had been on the water 1.5 to 2 hours. The sky was clear with a light offshore breeze and an estimated air temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean had a slight texture with 3 – 4 foot swells with an estimated water temperature in the low 60s Fahrenheit. There were sparse pieces of kelp floating in the area but no large dominant kelp plants. No marine mammals were observed at this location. Reggie A, reported;“I was surfing near a group of 5 – 6 surfers, about 10 yards away on the inside. During a lull, I was sitting on my board observing the clarity of the water. Then about 6 feet away at my 11 o'clock position, I spotted what appeared to be a shark. It was about 7 feet long, gray and 2 – 3 feet under the surface slowly swimming alongside me as I held still. It kept its distance and depth (dorsal fin did not break the surface) and glided past as it seemed to be checking me out. Once its head passed the tail of my board, it quickly turned away from me and I lost sight of it. At that point I decided to paddle toward the group as they were closer than the shore and there was still a lull. I tried to minimize splashing and lift my legs out of the water. Once among the group, I mentioned the shark sighting. They confirmed that there were two sharks spotted earlier that morning. We stayed in the water for awhile waiting for the next set and I did not spot the shark again. The other surfers and I continued to surf a couple more waves, then I finally took a wave in to shore.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On March 14, 2015 Jason Meffe and 4 companions were Stand Up Paddleboarding at Trail One, San Onofre State Beach. It was 8:10 AM and they had been on the water about 30 minutes. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was ‘slightly bumpy' about 15 feet over a sandy bottom with an estimated water temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit. A pod of 7 – 10 dolphins were observed 3 hours into their session. Meffe reported;“Five of us paddled out at Trail One just North of the trailhead around 7:40 AM. Two of the people in the group stated they had seen a shark during our paddle out. After that, someone would see a shark about every 10 – 15 minutes. I was on the water for about 30 minutes before I saw a 6 – 7 foot white shark swim directly under my board about 2 feet below the surface. I've had encounters with white sharks previously and there was no mistaking that this was a juvenile white shark. About 30 minutes later I observed a dorsal and caudal fin break the surface and swim South at a slow pace about 15 yards farther out from me. I estimate that shark at about 6 – 7 feet. Roughly 30 minutes later I observed another dorsal fin swimming North at the same pace. I personally observed at least 3 or 4 additional sharks during my 4 hour session. The largest white shark was 8 – 9 feet in length. The sharks were mostly observed beneath the surface or in waves; they all appeared to be white sharks and did not seem interested in anyone in the water.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On March 13, 2015 Eric (last name withheld by request) was surfing Trail 1 at San Onofre State Beach. It was 2:00 PM and he had been on the water 5 – 10 minutes. The sky was clear with a light onshore breeze and an estimated air temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with 3 – 4 foot surf in water 10 – 15 feet deep with an estimated temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Eric recounted;“I had initially gone down to Trail 2 because the Trail 1 parking lot appeared crowded. Immediately at the bottom of Trail 2, about 50 feet North, I saw a dead Sea Lion with a large chunk out of its lower belly. It appeared to be dead for several days. There were no other surfers at Trail 2 and it was somewhat spooky, so I walked down to Trail 1 where 4 – 5 guys were already out. I paddled out during a set, so it took about 5 – 10 minutes to get out into the lineup. Within 1 minute of sitting on my board 3 surfers about 50 yards North of me started yelling shark and pointing out to sea. I looked out and could clearly see the fin and tail sticking out of the water, about 100 feet from me directly out to sea. I was fairly tired, so I slowly started paddling towards shore. The other surfers continued to point to me and get my attention. The shark was swimming fairly quickly directly toward me and appeared to be about 6 feet in length. I paddled more quickly and the shark was less than 30 feet away from me when I last saw it and was completely visible in the clear water. I bellied the next wave in and got to shore, where the other surfers were standing. They said they thought the shark was coming straight for me. The shark never appeared aggressive, but seeing the dead Sea Lion 30 minutes earlier was enough to keep me from paddling back out.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Surf Beach On March 13, 2015 Vincent Culliver reported the following; “Vandenberg Command Post, Format 4, Notification Advisory. Reference Hour 1844 Local. Due to a recent shark sighting on March 13th at 1745L on Surf Beach. The Installation Commander directed a 72 hour beach closure for all Vandenberg Beaches. All personnel are directed to avoid base beaches during this time. Beaches will reopen on Tuesday, March 17th , 2015.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
San Onofre State Beach On March 13, 2015 J.S. (name withheld by request) was Stand Up Paddleboarding at Trail 1, San Onofre State Beach. He reported the following; “A friend and I were SUP surfing at Trail 1. A guy coming out of water and said sharks were bumping his board and making him nervous. We went in any way as there were 10 surfers in already. Having got all the way out I immediately observed an 8 – 9 foot shark pass about 6 feet in front of my SUP. I caught a wave and rode it into the sand. Seeing my friend stayed out, I ventured back out. When I got to him he observed another shark 4 – 6 feet in length and we both caught the next wave in together. We watched from the cliff top as an injured seal, in the relatively same spot where we had been, appeared to be mauled by sharks as it tried to swim. It was a sunny day, about 75 degrees Fahrenheit with a 3 – 4 foot surf.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Montara State Beach On March 12, 2015 Scott Dobson reported the following;”I want to report a shark encounter at Montara State Beach at about 9:45 AM. Three of us were out surfing at this time. We had been in the water for about 30 minutes and were probably only in 7 feet deep water as the tide was very low and the waves were only 3 – 4 feet high. The water was moderately murky brown with the sand being stirred up by the waves. My friend who was paddling back out after coming off a wave saw a large shark figure in the wave behind me that I was going to paddle into. He said he saw both the dorsal and tail fin breach the surface and made a 'darting' movement in my direction. He believed the shark to be about 15 feet long with a light grey dorsal fin. My other friend, who was maybe 6 – 8 yards shallower than me, reported seeing the large dorsal fin in the wave. He did not see the tail fin or the figure of the shark. Upon being warned of the shark we all paddled in to knee high water. No shark could be seen until approximately 5 minutes later when I saw what seemed to be a shark thrashing around about 70 yards out and 100 – 150 yards South of our location. I could not make out the size of the shark in the distance. Upon re-entering the water we were visited by a very curious seal who observed us for about half a minute. There was also a lot of mammal activity on the water this morning with small dolphins being sighted further out by my friend and a lady telling us she saw whales breaching in the shallow water before we got in.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Monterey On March 10, 2015 Journalist Jason Hoppin, Monterey County Herald, reported;“Warnings have been posted at Marina State Beach after a surfer witnessed a Great White Shark attacking a sea lion on Monday. The advisories, which were posted by California State Parks, went up Monday evening after parks officials received a credible, though secondhand, report of the attack, which occurred at 11 a.m. ‘We had a beach patron who reportedly saw a shark come out of the water,' State Parks sector superintendent Jim Bilz said. The witness, who was in the water at the time, reported the shark to be 16 to 18 feet. Though surfers and swimmers aren't barred from the ocean, the warnings will stay up until Wednesday or Thursday. Shark sightings are relatively frequent at Marina State Beach, a popular surfing spot, with at least one warning posted in the previous year. Surfer Eric Tarantino was attacked there in 2011. Though seriously injured, Tarantino survived. In 2007, surfer Todd Endris was mauled by a great white shark at Marina State Beach. Endris' attack made national headlines after he reported being protected by a ring of dolphins while he swam to shore.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Cruz On March 5, 2015 Wendi Zuccaro and her Mother, Pat Brandhorst were shopping on the Boardwalk Pier in Santa Cruz. It was 12:20 PM under a windless clear sky with an estimated air temperature of 67 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was choppy with good water visibility and large kelps present in the area. There were 80 – 100 pinnipeds present swimming at surface, diving down and heading to rest and feed under the pier. Zuccaro reported;“My mother and I were looking out a window from a shop on the Boardwalk Pier when we noticed a large seal, about 6 or 7 feet in length, swimming at the surface. We saw what appeared to be a dorsal sticking fully out of the water behind the seal and to its right side about 10 – 15 yards. As the seal swam by us at the window, it did not seem to notice anything stalking it and just kept swimming at the surface at a slow, but regular pace, almost as if it was ‘cruising around.' When it passed by, the full size, shape and view of the shark could be seen following it. The shark was about10 feet long, first dorsal about 1 1/2 feet long, a grey body with white showing under the snout, black eyes, sleek but full body, very aware of the surrounding. We watched this stalking behavior for just less than 2 minutes. Suddenly, the shark made a sharp right turn heading directly under the pier which allowed the seal to continue on, even though I doubt the seal ever noticed its presence. We left the shop and alerted the patrol office on the pier who said they were going to send a jet ski out in ‘a few minutes' to look into the matter, but didn't seemed concerned at all even though there were swimmers, kayaks, and surfers in the area. That was at 1230 hrs. We left the pier and headed to the point to watch the surfers and noticed a large number of birds had arrived at the end of the pier and at the water surface and were feeding on ‘something.' We kept an eye out for the patrol to go out and look around. At 1445 hrs, they sent a truck out to Cowell's Beach and a boat to investigate the exact area we specified. At this point, all the birds that had gathered to feed were all gone.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On March 5, 2015 John Koltai was surfing just North of the 45th Street Water Towers at El Porto in Manhattan Beach. It was 8:30 AM and he had been on the water 30 minutes. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was semi-glassy with the tide filling in and an estimated water temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Koltai recounted;“I'm renting an apartment down the street from El Porto and have been surfing in the area all winter. I've heard of recent shark sightings in the area but haven't seen any myself before today. I had been in the water for approximately 30 minutes with three other surfers, just north of the 45th Street Tower. I probably saw about 5 seals before the shark sighting. Some were surprisingly close to shore, just a few feet out. I also saw a seal body surf a wave as I was paddling back out from a ride. While waiting for the next wave I saw the dorsal fin of a shark about 30 – 40 feet away from me. The dorsal fin was about 10 inches above the surface. I heard two of the other surfers around me laughing that the shark was following them around; apparently they had seen a shark in the area the other day. I confirmed with them that the fin was that of a shark and not a dolphin and when I turned around the shark with its dorsal still above the water began slowly approaching us. I waited until the shark was about 20 feet away and began paddling south in the other direction. As I was paddling a wave came and I caught a nice ride back closer to the 45th Street Tower. I paddled even farther south to 42nd Street to put some distance between the shark and me. I caught a few more waves and then got out.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On March 3, 2015 Adam Snyder was surfing South of the 45th Guard Tower at El Porto in Manhattan Beach. It was 10:00 AM and he had been on the water 20 minutes. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a 2 – 3 foot swell over a sandy ocean bottom 8 feet deep with 6 feet of visibility and an estimated temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Snyder reported;“I live just up the street from 45th Tower in El Porto. As I was standing on my balcony looking at the surf, waiting for the tide to lower a little more when I clearly saw a dark shape of a shark swimming approx 70 yards off shore. I could see its outline in the wave faces as they passed. There were few surfers in the lineup. I decided to surf in the area anyways. As I walked down to the beach, I could still see the shark occasionally in the wave faces, so I decided to enter north of its position. I had been in the water for approximately 20 minutes with 4 other surfers in the area. As I was waiting for the next wave, I saw the shark surface approx 15 feet away from me. Its dorsal fin was approx 7 – 8 inches above the surface. I estimated the juvenile Great White Shark to be 6 feet in length from what I had seen earlier. I was to the north of the shark, and there were 3 other surfers to the south of the shark. We all had seen it. It was moving very slowly toward shore at that point. I decided to paddle further north to put a little more distance between it and myself. I caught a couple more waves and got out. I know many juvenile Great White Sharks have been seen in this area so I was not alarmed. I'm sure this is not the last time I will see a shark in this area.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Jalama Beach On February 28, 2015 Cole Edwards reported the following;“This weekend a friend and I decided to drive up to Jalama, in Santa Barbara County, to camp and hopefully catch some surf. Saturday morning provided clean chest to head high waves. The weather and wind picked up by 11 and we were forced out of the water to wait out the wind and rain. While watching the ocean during our break I saw the biggest dorsal fin I have ever seen, emerge. While I was some feet from the water, my best guess is it had to have been close to 3 feet long and at least 2 feet wide. It only emerged for about 5 seconds before heading under water and making quite a bit of commotion under the water. I did not see a tail fin. Around the same time we noticed multiple whales making a lot of commotion in the same area. My best guess to the species of whale was Humpback or Grey. The friend I came with had dismissed the fin I saw saying it was probably an Orca. When I approached a ranger about Orcas in the area, he said they aren't present in this area. An hour later a man who was fishing 100 yards North said he saw something too large to be a Dolphin and but too fast to be a Whale also making a lot of commotion in the area. After reviewing photographs of Orca and White Shark dorsal fins I am positive it was not an Orca.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On February 27, 2015 Will Gilmore was surfing El Porto in Manhattan Beach. It was 9:45 AM and he had been on the water 90 minutes. The sky was overcast with an estimated air temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm over a sandy bottom 6 – 8 feet deep with an estimated temperature of 61 degrees Fahrenheit. A small seal was observed prior to the encounter and a long board surfer had a whale come up near him followed by a shark. Gilmore reported; “I was sitting in the lineup in front of the showers at El Porto. A surfer ten yards to my right was slowly paddling away. Something caught my attention and I looked at him as a huge swirling hole of water popped up two feet in front of his face. There was some more thrashing of water but nothing breached. He immediately said shark and bolted for shore. When I got to shore I asked him what he saw and he said it was a white shark with a back fin that was about three feet in length. After getting out of the water, I kept watching and saw a pod of dolphins swimming swiftly. I also saw an animal thrashing in the water in front of the smoke stacks and moving north, as it was being followed by a large group of birds.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
In Memoriam February 25, 2015 It is with great personal sadness that I report the passing of 'The Shark Lady'....Dr. Eugenie Clark.....a pioneer in the field of shark research and a friend.........she will be missed by all who knew her and all those that knew of her tireless efforts to conserve and save our oceans and their inhabitants........God Bless you Genie..
Dana Point Harbor On February 25, 2015 Arthur Grant was on a Stan Up Paddle Board inside the breakwater in Dana Point Harbor about 50 yards West of the light and 20 feet off the breakwater rocks. It was 3:15 PM and he had been on the water 25 minutes. The sky was clear with a mild breeze and an estimated air temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The water was calm over a sandy ocean bottom 18 feet deep, with 40 feet of underwater visibility and an estimated temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit. There were short statured kelps growing from the breakwater rocks and more than 25 pinnipeds scattered on the breakwater rocks with a few in the water. Grant reported;“I launched at Baby Beach and was paddling my bright red 14 foot race Stand Up Paddle Board along the inside of the Dana Point Breakwater, about 50 yards from the light at the end of it where the Sea Lions congregate. The water was clear and calm. I saw a dark shape about two feet beneath the surface swimming directly toward me, head on. I knew immediately that it was a shark, and not a Sea Lion. I am a lifelong surfer; fisherman, free diver and professional mariner, and I have seen many species of sharks before, in many oceans. I was wearing polarized sunglasses and could see this shark perfectly. At the last moment the shark noticed me and rolled to its left side and gave a kick to get beneath my board. I saw its profile as it swam about 4 feet beneath my board. It had a dark grey topside which transitioned to a white underbelly; the tail fin was oversized. I estimated that the shark was 8 feet long, as it was more than half the length of my paddle board. As it swam under and about 20 feet behind me, I could clearly see it turn to the right and begin to make a slow circle, and it swam under me again, and then did so a second time. The body was broad, and the pectoral and dorsal fins also seemed oversized. I estimate its weight to be about 250 lbs. There is no doubt in my mind that it was a juvenile Great White Shark. After the second circle it made of me, it continued on its original course into the harbor, along the breakwater, about 2 feet beneath the surface. That was the last I saw of it, though I paddled around the area for another 30 minutes looking for it. I alerted all paddle boarders and kayakers that I saw on my way back to Baby Beach.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ventura On February 23, 2015 Noah Liebelt and Shane Weaver were surfing 50 – 75 feet from shore near the jetty at the end of Dover Lane at San Buenaventura State Beach, which is located South of the pier and North of harbor in Ventura. It was 9:15 AM and they had been on the water about one hour. The sky was clear with a mild breeze and an estimated air temperature of 61 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with a 2 – 3 foot swell over a sandy ocean bottom with an estimated temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Liebelt reported;“While I was sitting on my board looking out at waves with the sun at my back I watched a shark suddenly breach completely out of the water about 50 yards off the jetty. The shark was about 8 feet in length with a sandy/gray color on its back. The tail was thrashing back and forth and made it easy to identify as a shark. I did not see any fish or marine mammals that the shark might have been chasing.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On February 22, 2015 Brian Toal and Art Krispin were surfing El Porto in Manhattan Bach just South of the power plant. It was 7:00 AM and they had been on the water 5 minutes. The sky was cloudy with an estimated air temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The water was 6 – 8 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom with 2 – 3 foot waves and an estimated temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit. Toal recounted;“My friend and I got to El Porto and he was setting up his camera gear. I paddled out in front of the water tank south of the El Porto stacks. Immediately I saw what appeared to be a sea lion pup body floating about 10 yards west of me. I paddled about 10 yards south of its location turned to look back and saw a dorsal fin then the entire shark, a 7 – 8 foot juvenile white shark, attacking the sea lion body. I tried to get GoPro footage but it did not come out. I paddled south another 20 or so yards and motioned to my friend who was about to enter the water directly east of the shark. I motioned for him to paddle out south of his current location. We stayed out another hour surfing. At a couple of times we paddled through entrails. I wanted to also let you know that there are stories of a bigger shark the previous day attacking a large adult sea lion. Art and I saw the body of this sea lion just north of 45th street against the rocks. Also, yesterday my girlfriend and I came across a headless sea lion body down at Burnout near Torrance Beach. This was odd to me because I surf there often and have never seen any sharks. What I have noticed the last few weeks is that the dolphins have not been as frequent down at the south end of the bay.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Cannon Beach , OR On February 21, 2015 Chase Evans was Body Surfing the South end of Tolovana State Beach, which is located at the South end of Cannon Beach, Oregon. It was 2:30 PM and he had been on the water about 1.5 hours. It was sunny with a few clouds passing from the East and an air temperature of 65 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The water was about 7 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom with an increasing high tide and a temperature of 56 degrees Fahrenheit. Evans reported; “I was surfing for about an hour before deciding to bodysurf at the south end of what is known as Needles or Tolovana State Park. I was in the water for a total of an hour and half until I came up from a crashing wave and heard shouting from the shore. I turned and saw a man and a woman waving and shouting. I wasn't sure what they wanted until I saw the man making a hand gesture alluding to a shark fin and they were yelling 'shark!' At the time I was standing in about 5 feet of water and waded my way to shore while I looked around behind me for a fin or any indication of the shark but I didn't see anything. When I got to shore I watched the water with the man and asked him if he was sure it wasn't a dolphin but the man said it was much larger, nearly the size of a whale. He said they saw it just behind me in a breaking wave. From what was described to me, it didn't seem as though it was after me at all but minding its own business. We watched the water for quite some time and I noticed after a few minutes that there were about 5 bobbing seals behind the breaking waves but there were no signs that the shark was near. Looking back, it seemed as though the water visibility was slowly decreasing throughout the day.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Seaside Cove, OR On February 20, 2015 Todd Prager was surfing at Seaside Cove, located North of Cannon Beach and South of Gearheart Ocean State Park, Oregon. It was 8:30 AM and he had been on the water only 10 minutes. The sky was mostly cloudy with an estimated air temperature of 51 degrees Fahrenheit. The water was about 15 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom with an estimated temperature of 53 degrees Fahrenheit and approximately 6 feet of water visibility. No marine mammals were observed in area. Prager reported;“I was at Seaside Cove for a morning surf session and took the rip current adjacent to the rocks to get to the outside. I had to paddle on my board to get past the last few waves, and I took a little break and sat on my board after getting almost to the outside. While sitting on my board, I thought something large and dark swam beneath me but I figured I was just seeing things. Then I started to paddle again toward the outside to get past the last wave or two and there were a couple of sea birds sitting on top of the waves. As the next wave rose up and lifted the birds, I saw a 12 – 13 foot shark, with a blunt nose, swim in the wave toward the birds. At that point, the birds flapped away and I was able to catch the wave and ride it to shore. I was the first surfer in the water that day and no other surfers were in the water.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On February 20, 2015 Marco Palma and an unidentified companion were surfing near 26 th Street, South of El Porto in Manhattan Beach. It was 7:00 AM and they had been on the water about 20 minutes. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm over a sandy ocean bottom 4 – 6 feet deep with an estimated temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit and 4 feet of water visibility. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Palma recounted; “My friend had caught a few waves on what was a small day, with clean sets. When he paddled back to join me, I noticed the dorsal fin about 5 feet South of him. I was about 15 feet North of him. From that distance it didn't seem very large, but in recollection we did not see a tail (caudal) fin, so I think that we were actually only seeing the tip. The fin itself seemed to reach about 7 inches above the water. It was dark grey and seemed to have some scratches. The animal didn't move, which is what made me think that it was not a dolphin as most dolphins that frequent El Porto and Manhattan Beach are typically in constant motion. I yelled to my friend that it was a ‘shark' and we paddled in. As he was turning to begin paddling, the fin submerged. He thinks that it might have started following him. Another surfer about 10 feet north of me saw the fin as well. He and his two other friends also left the water, though as we walked away from the shore, about five other surfers replaced us in the lineup. My friend mentioned that he had a small, shallow cut on his finger tip that was not bleeding openly.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Shores, WA On February 19, 2015 Fox News 13 reported;“A Great White Shark, about 18-feet long, is believed to be swimming off the Washington coast and feeding on Harbor Seals close to shore, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said. The evidence is a seal that was found Thursday, February 19, on a beach near Ocean Shores, neatly bitten in half. Ocean Shores is located about 20 miles north of the Long Beach Peninsula's northern tip in Grays County. A necropsy was performed by the department in consultation with a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shark expert in California. They determined on Tuesday the likely predator was a Great White Shark. Judging by the spacing of the bite marks it is about 18 feet long. The seal found with its hindquarters missing was a female that weighed more than 200 pounds. Its stomach was filled with smelt, indicating she had been recently attacked close to shore. Great White Sharks appear off the Washington coast, as they do elsewhere around the world. Only two shark attacks on humans have been documented in Washington — one in the 1830s and one in 1989. The attacks weren't fatal, but the 1989 incident did occur in Grays Harbor. As a precaution the department has notified other agencies of the presence of the Great White Shark, including the Coast Guard, state parks, and local governments and tribes on the coast. Another seal found dead near Ocean Shores on Saturday also was examined, but it was determined it likely died as a result of being entangled in a fishing net. It did not have bite marks.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Oxnard Shores On February 7, 2015 Dean Leonardi was surfing 50 – 75 yards from the beach and 400 yards South of Fifth Street at Oxnard Shores. It was 9:30 AM and he had been on the water 1.5 hours. The sky was overcast and there was a light rain with an estimated air temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with the waves running 4 – 6 feet over a sandy bottom with an estimated temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Leonardi reported;“I was sitting on my surfboard waiting for waves. A surfer closer to the shark had his back turned towards it at the time of the encounter. He was paddling for a set wave. The shark swam slowly towards that surfer, and a small group of surfers near him, in an apparent straight path. The shark was about 50 feet from me and 30 degrees off axis to my left. I paddled immediately for shore trying to get myself into turbulent water caused by breaking waves while minimizing creating too much thrashing by sprinting to shore. The triangular shaped dorsal fin was 7 – 12 inches high and there was no tail observed as it moved slowly across the surface. I kept looking behind me as I headed to shore but could not see dorsal fin anymore. Two other surfers paddled to shore at same time and we all agreed there was shark. Another five surfers stayed in water.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Moss Landing State Beach On January 29, 2015 Alan Bairley was surfing the break near the jetty at Moss Landing State Beach. It was 9:00 AM and he had been on the water about 20 minutes. The sky was clear with a light offshore wind and an estimated water temperature in the mid-50s Fahrenheit. The sea was smooth and glassy with short interval waves 4 – 8 feet high over a sandy ocean floor about 10+ feet deep. Water visibility was 6 – 10 feet with an estimated water temperature in the upper 50s Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Bairley reported; “I went out surfing near Moss Landing Jetty in nice waves. I caught two waves in ten minutes paddling back out after each. As I was paddling for my 3rd wave and checking my position, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. Looking down, I saw a crescent shaped, dark, vertical tail, which was somewhat larger than the width of my surfboard (21.5 inches), connecting to a grey body that was darker on top than the bottom. I could not make out any other features as the shark was swimming underneath me, down towards the depths. There was another surfer in the water close to my location, who I notified, and we paddled in together. He explained that he too apparently had been ‘buzzed' by some marine animal, but could not identify it. Afterwards, we spoke with another surfer on the shore who had also exited the water when he saw a ‘shark-like shape' that appeared to be in a wave he was paddling for.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Notice January 22, 2015 NEWS RELEASE
Pacific Coast Shark Attacks During 2014
There were 6 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks on humans reported from the Pacific Coast of North America during 2014. All of the attacks were recorded from California. The attacks were distributed in the following months; July (1), October (4) and December (1). Activities of the victims were; 3 Surfing, 2 Kayaking, and 1 Outrigger. The Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias, was positively identified or highly suspect in all 6 unprovoked attacks. Only two individual's sustained physical injury, both were surfing. These incidents will be treated in greater detail in the Year-End SRC Newsletter. The boat incident in November in Central California is not considered in this analysis due to the activity of fishing, which might have attracted the shark to the vessel.
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 6 cases reported for 2014 brings the total number of unprovoked shark attacks occurring along the Pacific Coast during the 21 st Century to 83. 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 73 (88%) of the 83 attacks recorded during the 21st Century. From 2000 to the present, 42 (51%) of the 83 confirmed attacks occurred during the three month period of August (12), September (9), and October (21). There have been 191 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast of North America from 1900 to 2014. The Great White Shark was positively identified or highly suspect in 167 (87%) of the 191 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 191 total cases.
Victim activity for the 83 shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast since 2000 are distributed in the following ocean user groups; surfers 54 (65%) of the documented attacks, with 6 swimmers (7%), 11 kayakers (13%), 4 divers (5%), 4 paddle boarders (5%), 1 windsurfer (1%), 1 fishing (1%), 1 outrigger (1%) and 1 boogie boarder (1%). The number of shark-bitten stranded marine mammals reported in 2014 was slightly less than the prior year, especially in Santa Barbara County. This artifact might not necessarily be the result of a decrease in the number of sharks or pinnipeds but rather fewer individuals reporting these events to recognized organizations or individuals. The Shark Research Committee will continue to closely monitor these activities.
Manhattan Beach On January 18, 2015 Jonathon Pickle and Ross Monroe were surfing at El Porto in Manhattan Beach. It was 10 – 11 AM and they were about 50 yards from shore. While waiting for a set they both observed a Great White Shark, 7 – 8 feet in length and very ‘girthy', breach about 100 yards from shore and 50 yards from their location. Its mouth was open when it breached ‘completely horizontal' to the ocean's surface. An undetermined number of surfers in the area also observed the shark's breach. They both said they had not seen a Great White Shark ‘that chunky' in the area before. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Humboldt North Jetty On January 14, 2015 Andrew Goff of the Lost Coast Outpost described the following;“Attached to a personal dive float and with a 70cm speargun in hand, 23-year-old Martin Magneson was free diving on the channel side of the jetty about 50 yards out from where the rocks transition to ‘dolos' (a concrete block in a complex geometric shape weighing up to 20 tons, used in great numbers to protect harbor walls from erosive). Conditions were good; he'd snagged a few fish, which he'd clipped to a rope attached to his float that also tethered his gun, in case he dropped it. Magneson said underwater visibility was pretty good for Humboldt — about 20 feet. As he was about to surface, he glanced out toward the ocean and his peripheral vision caught a grayish/whitish object in the distance. At first he thought it was a harbor seal, as he'd already seen a couple earlier. Then he figured it out,‘It was a great white. I couldn't mistake it,' Magneson told LoCO via phone, estimating the shark was nearly 15 feet. ‘Its mouth was as big as my torso, from my waistline to the middle of my neck.' At first, Magneson said, the shark wasn't aggressive — ‘It was just there to investigate' — and watched him from a distance. He wonders if maybe it had been drawn by his day's catch, still attached to his float nearby. Then it quickly came closer. As the shark neared, Magneson pointed his speargun toward it but resisted firing — thinking it might be his last line of defense. When the shark was close enough he poked at it. ‘It felt like a solid object,' he said, adding that his prodding didn't really phase it. Magneson pulled the trigger. At this point the shark was close enough to engulf most of the speargun in its mouth. Magneson released his grip when he felt the animal bite down. After untangling the rope attached to the gun from his weight belt, Magneson said he then pushed against the shark to get away and was struck by its pectoral fin. Aided by his three-foot fins, Magneson swam as fast as he could toward the jetty. ‘I don't know how long it took,' Magneson said about his brief journey to the rocks. ‘It felt like it took forever.' Once he reached safety, he looked back toward his float and said it was briefly moving, as though the shark was still somehow attached. Then the movement stopped. He contacted the Coast Guard to let them know his equipment was in the water. The Coast Guard pulled in his equipment during a training session later that night. Unfortunately his speargun is no more — only the handle and trigger portion, sporting a few bite marks, was still attached to the buoy when it was snagged.‘The main thing I learned is to be a lot more careful,' Magneson said, noting he probably should not have been diving alone where he was.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manhattan Beach On January 12, 2015 Alan Latteri and Barklie Griggs were SUP boarding at El Porto in Manhattan Beach. It was about 1:00 PM and they had been on the water about 90 minutes. The sky was overcast with the air temperature in the mid-60s Fahrenheit. The surf was running 6 foot sets over a sandy ocean bottom about 15 feet deep with 6 – 10 feet of water visibility. Several dolphin swam were in the area and at least one Sea Lion was observed swimming thru the line up doing tail flips. Latteri reported;“I was surfing North of tower 45 in front of the rocks at El Porto. I had fallen in the water a couple of times and my buddy Barklie was motioning and yelling something at me. I couldn't hear what he was saying, but once I paddle up to him, he said that an 8 foot, ‘girthy,' Great White Shark was swimming North bound quite close me. I never saw it. He said it was just under the surface so none of the fins were visible. He said it was not the usual 6 foot juveniles; this one had some width and weight to it.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ventura On January 10, 2015 Maverick Carey and his friend Trent Stevens were about 400 yards from shore at Surfers Point, Ventura, located near C Street and sometimes referred to as Surfers Point. It was 3:00 PM and they had been on the water about one hour. The sky was cloudy with occasional light rain and an off shore ESE 5 – 10 mph breeze with an estimated air temperature of 58 degrees Fahrenheit. There were an additional 50 – 60 surfers in the area with an estimated water temperature in the low 60s Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Carey reported;“Trent and I were sitting in the lineup with my friend waiting for the next set when we saw a Great White Shark breach completely out of the water, about 10 – 12 feet into the air. The shark was 400 – 500 yards further out and was at least 10 feet in length with a defined line of demarcation between the upper dorsal dark color and the white belly. We did not see the shark breach again.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.