Pacific Coast Shark News 2006
The following reports for 2006 have been provided as a public service. They are intended to inform our visitors of current shark activities along the Pacific Coast of North America.
Churches Surf Break On November 5, 2006 John Hammer was surfing at Churches Surf Break, South of Trestles, San Clemente. It was 5:30 PM and he had been on the water about 2 hours and was 100 yards from shore. Air and water temperatures were estimated to be in the mid and low 60s Fahrenheit respectively. The ocean was calm with 4 foot sets coming about every 10 minutes. The water was 8 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom with about 4 feet of visibility. Hammer recalled; “The sun had set 15 minutes earlier and I was alone at the break watching the afterglow. About 20 – 30 feet out from me, I observed a dorsal fin, 10 – 16 inches high and slightly jagged on the trailing edge, moving steadily from South to North. It made a bit of a bow wave as it passed. It never turned towards me or exhibited any interest. I watched until it slipped below the surface, and slowly turned and paddled like the dickens for the shore. It definitely was not a dolphin.” 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.
Black Rock, Catalina Island On November 4, 2006 Ken Hill was SCUBA diving at Black Rock, West End of Catalina Island. He was wearing a black wet suit, hood, booties and gloves. His accessory equipment was a spear gun, 72 cubic foot tank with black and white fins and a white silicon mask and a black BC. It was 1:30 PM and he had only been in the water 5 minutes. The water was 65 – 70 feet deep with a sandy ocean bottom littered with large boulders. The ocean was flat and calm with little or no current. He recorded the air and water temperatures at 74 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. Hill recalled; “I was carrying a spear gun while scouting for scallops and lobsters, but had not taken any prior to the encounter. I was the dive master of the boat and it was our third dive of the day. We had made two prior dives at Farnsworth Banks but because a large swell was hitting the backside of the island we decided to move around to the front side. We anchored the boat at the edge of the kelp in 35 – 40 feet of water. I entered the water and dropped down to the bottom and started working my way to deeper water. I was above a desk size boulder, covered with sea fans in 65 feet of water, when I looked and observed a grayish/white line 15 feet in front of me. I could not figure out what it was for several seconds until it started moving slowly from my left to my right. I watched as it circled to my right side and when it turned toward me I recognized it to be a white shark about 15 feet in length. I immediately pulled myself down behind the rock for protection. The shark was about 6 feet off the bottom as it started circling the rock. I kept moving around the rock in an effort to keep the rock between me and the shark. I had made almost a complete 360 around the rock when the shark suddenly turned and swam directly over the top of the rock. I watched it go overhead and when it got about 10 feet away it turned around and started swimming back at me. This time it was only 3 feet off the bottom. I was trying to lay as flat on the bottom and as close to the rock as I could, while pulling myself around the rock. I was rubbing the rock so close that my BC buckle came undone. The shark followed me around the rock again and then turned and swam over the rock again. This time it was just about 18 inches above me and its body looked to be almost 3 feet wide. As it passed overhead its pectoral fins passed on both sides of me. The shark was swimming very slowly and I could clearly see what I later learned were claspers on its underside. I watched as the tail slowly moved above me and then the shark just continued to swim straight until it disappeared. I waited next to the rock for about 5 minutes to see if the shark would return. After checking my compass I started moving from rock to rock along the bottom toward the island until I came up to the kelp bed, found the anchor chain and followed it back to the boat. None of the other divers saw the shark. I am still amazed at how well the shark was camouflaged when I first saw it. When I was looking at that white line in the water I could not see any other part of the shark and it was only 15 feet away.” 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.
Emma Wood State Beach On October 31, 2006 Mark Schulbach was on a 12 foot, white bottom, blue soft top, green bladed paddleboard, 200 yards from shore and 250 yards West of the entrance to Emma Wood State Beach, Ventura. It was 1:30 PM and he had been on the water about 3 hours engaged in distance paddling. It was partly cloudy with the air temperature estimated at 68 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a small surface chop from a 5 knot west wind with a water temperature in the low 60s and just slightly more than 6 feet of water visibility. Schulbach recounted; “I was paddling between Rincon and C-Street for exercise. While looking towards shore, 100 feet away from me, I saw an animal splash down into the water. Assuming it was a brown pelican or something, I watched for it to surface but it didn't come up. Seconds later, 10 yards from the first splash site, I saw a 5 foot, finned animal, with a white belly, twisting, turning and splashing down again. The fins were pronounced and the body was shark-like. It cleared the surface of the water at least 3 – 4 feet, and had lots of hang time, before splashing down. My first instinct was that it was a shark. I stopped paddling and waited for another sighting. After a few seconds I continued on and about 1 minute later I saw it jump again. This time 100 yards away from me, further out to sea. Same description, a 5 foot twisting turning shark like body, big air and hang time and big splash.” 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.
4 Mile, Santa Cruz On October 3, 2006 Jason Chadwich was surfing with a friend at ‘4 Mile,’ North of Santa Cruz. It was 6 AM and they were about 100 yards from shore. Air and water temperatures were estimated to be in the 50s. Chadwick reported the following; “A buddy of mine treated me to my first surf session in Santa Cruz. We were the first surfers in the water. While waiting for the first waves of the day, we witnessed a large shark surfacing on a young seal. The shark took the seal underwater and began swimming very erratically on the surface out to sea. We saw it swimming on the surface for a while before it disappeared. The shark appeared to be 12 – 15 feet in length. Needless to say this startled us, and we quickly exited the water. From the beach we could see no further activity from the shark. There was a lot of bird activity in the water and we did note several aggressive seals swimming near by as well.They would come very close and swim beneath our feet.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Upper Trestles On September 29, 2006 Ken McKnight was surfing in the cove at Upper Trestles near San Clemente. It was 5 PM and he had been in the water about 2 hours. He was on a black nylon surf mat (air mattress). The sky was clear with an air temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The sea was calm with 3 feet of water visibility and a depth of about 25 feet. Water temperature was in the mid-60s. McKnight recalled: “It came at me from underneath and behind as I paddled north back to the lineup from the cove. After a solid set of waves I had to paddle back out into deeper water and then north back to the line up. I was pretty deep in the cove and a solid 75 yards from the inside lineup, and by myself. Something came out of deep water and right at my hip area making an abrupt 'u' turn about six inches from me. It moved super fast and I felt the movement of water and saw a large form just under the surface. First instinct, 'Was that a seal?' but it was greyer and whiter. For all I knew it was 15 feet long but my minds eye says it was around 4-5 feet and moving very fast. It didn't break water but I saw the form as it disappeared back into the murky water. I went straight to the beach and scoured the lineup kind of hoping to see a seal but nothing surfaced in the area for the 15 minutes I watched. Now I have surfed for over 45 years and never have had something buzz me like this at that size. After all the reports around this area I can only surmise this was a juvenile White having a look see at full speed.” 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.
Waddell Creek On September 26, 2006 ‘Doc’ Rivera was filming his friend, ‘Beak’ and another unidentified surfer on a longboard, from the beach at Waddell Creek about 50 yards north of ‘The Warden’ sign at the north end of the parking lot. It was 11:30 AM and ‘Beak’ had been in the water about one hour. There was an overcast sky and a brisk wind. Air and water temperatures were in the low 60s and 50s Fahrenheit respectively. The ocean floor was primarily sand and 3 – 5 feet deep with a 3 – 5 foot shore break. Several pinnipeds were observed inside the shore break with an undetermined number of birds on the outside of the surf line and in the air. Rivera recalled; “’Beak’ had just taken a wave on a larger set, the ocean/waves had just gone slack, when the back of a large White Shark appeared at the surface chasing a seal. The shark’s tail sprayed and splashed water as it chased the seal through the shallows. Its dorsal fin was 16 – 20 inches high with the shark a dark grey and 13 – 14 feet in length. I was amazed at the amount of water the shark displaced while chasing the seal. This lasted about 10 – 15 seconds. ‘Beak’ got out of the water and 20 – 30 seconds later a second seal, larger than the first, hurled itself through the air near the longboarder. The seal surfaced next to the longboarder as if it was huddling up next to him half in and out of the water. The longboarder was outside in the flatspell post the set. The longboarder then promptly left the water on the next wave set. His words upon leaving the water were; ‘That was @#$&ING Scary!!!!!!’ ‘Beak’ and I returned about 2 hours later to see another seal around county line swimming and jumping erratically toward the beach (very odd behavior) this went on for about a minute then the seal was gone. The birds were outside feasting on an obvious oily slick that was not a bait ball.” This is the second encounter at this site in three days. Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On September 24, 2006 Henri Borius was surfing at Taraval Street, Ocean Beach. It was 5:00 PM and he had been in the water about 70 minutes. It was foggy with the air temperature about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean floor was sandy. The water was 9 – 12 feet deep with 3 – 5 feet of visibility and a temperature of about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Borius recounted; “I was relatively static in the water. I only saw the dorsal fin when it got close to me about 12 feet on my right. It was about 12 inches high with small indentations on the trailing edge. The shark was cruising parallel to the beach at a constant speed. Then it passed in front to me. The whole sequence of events lasted 10 seconds. I watched for 4 seconds, turned around and took a wave right away to the beach.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Waddell Creek On September 23, 2006 Jeff Parker and two friends were observing the surf conditions from shore. It was 6:45 PM and it was sunny with patchy fog developing. Parker recounted; “We weren't in the water, we were checking the surf out from the van in the parking lot. There were about 12 surfers in the water scattered from south to north with 100 – 150 yard gaps between surfers. We were about to suit up and chose a peak between 2 groups of surfers when I noticed what appeared to be 2 boogie boarders that showed up out of nowhere. I asked my friend if he saw the same thing and he concurred. After 3 – 4 waves of this appearing and disappearing I realized it was a shark just floating at the surface barely moving and right in the takeoff zone of the surfline. Birds kept flying overhead and I was able to grab my video camera and capture maybe 10 seconds of footage which verified both dorsal and tail fin, eliminating the chance of it being a dolphin. It was no surprise to any of us to see a shark at this location. The distance between the dorsal fin and tail was 7 – 8 feet.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Cowells Beach On September 20, 2006 Rhonda Bassett-Spiers and a friend were surfing at Cowells Beach just West of the Santa Cruz Wharf. It was 10:00 AM and they had been in the water about 20 minutes. It was sunny with an estimated air temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. It was high tide with a moderate ocean swell. Water depth was 10 – 12 feet with visibility 3 – 5 feet and an estimated water temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Rhonda recalled; “I first noticed the shark’s dorsal fin, which was 2 feet high, when it was about 40 feet away. My friend and I immediately began paddling for the stairs, which is an access point to the ocean at Cowells. I was further out than my friend and even though I was paddling as fast as I could, when I turned a few seconds later the shark was about 20 feet away. I decided to go for the rocks instead of the stairs because the shark was getting closer quickly. The last time I saw the shark it was about 8 feet away from me and about 30 feet from shore. The next minute a large wave pushed me into shore/the rocks. I was able to climb up the rocks to safety. I watched the water for the next hour and saw no sign of the shark.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Crescent City On September 12, 2006 Sara Centner observed a White Shark predatory attack on a California Sea Lion at Crescent City, California. It was 4:35 PM and slightly foggy conditions with intermittent sun shine and an air temperature of about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The incident occurred about 50 feet from shore in shallow water. The shark appeared to be 10 – 12 feet in length with a grey dorsal surface and a white underside. Although there were a number of pinnipeds hauled out on rocks none were observed in the water during the feeding event. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Isla Vista On September 11, 2006 Cameron Behling and two companions were surfing at Sands Beach, Isla Vista near Santa Barbara. It was 6:30 PM and they had been in the water 5 – 10 minutes. They were 80 – 100 yards from shore in water 10 – 12 feet deep adjacent to a step drop off into water 20 – 25 feet deep. Air and water temperatures were estimated in the low 60s Fahrenheit with foggy conditions. There was a large ocean swell that accompanied an extremely low tide. The ocean floor was covered with short stature kelp with sandy areas scattered throughout. Large kelps were present on the sea surface near there location. Behling recalled; “We were paddling out when the shark’s dorsal fin surfaced 15 – 20 feet away and perpendicular to us. The shark came right to the surface and hovered for about 10 seconds before descending out of sight. The fin was a dark grey color and about 2 feet high. We went ashore and met a surfer that had seen several dolphins about 30 minutes before we entered the water. We did not observe any dolphins or other marine mammals.” 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.
Pescadero State Beach On September 10, 2006 Todd Ravazza, Brian Inch and Libby Gustin were surfing near the North parking lot at Pescadero State Beach in San Mateo County. It was 7:00 PM and they had been in the water 1 hour. The sun was beginning to set and the sky was clear with an air temperature in the low 60s Fahrenheit. The water was 6 – 8 feet deep with 3 – 4 feet of visibility and a temperature in the low 50s. They were 20 yards from shore and the ocean was calm, glassy, with a 4 – 6 foot Southwest swell and a minimal Northwest wind swell. Ravazza recalled: “I had gone ashore to change and was heading back to the beach to watch Inch and Gustin. As I approached the beach they were coming out of the water. They informed me that while sitting in water about 20 yards offshore they both suddenly felt an extremely ‘uneasy vibe.’ They both acknowledged this and promptly paddled in. We all then returned to the beach and climbed a nearby dune and observed the shark’s dorsal fin protruding about 3 feet out of the water. It was swimming aggressively and very quickly in a straight line in between the outer and inner sand bar about 15 yards from where we had been surfing. The shark was a dark charcoal/blackish color on the top half of the body with a white underside and was about 20 feet in length.” Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Florence, Oregon On August 29, 2006 Tom Larson was surfing 20 yards south of the South Jetty at the Siuslaw River near Florence, Oregon. He was accompanied by his brother, Sam, and friends Eli Kreigh and Nate Ruddick. They were 100 – 150 yards from shore in water 8 – 12 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom with 2 – 3 feet of visibility. It was 6:45 PM and they had been in the water 2 hours. There were high ‘patchy clouds’ with a mild north breeze. Air and water temperatures were estimated in the mid 60s and 50s Fahrenheit respectively. The ocean was glassy calm with the swell 2 – 4 feet. They observed 2 porpoise and 2 to 4 seals when they paddled out until the time of the attack. Larson recalled; “I was sitting on the back of my surfboard which caused the tail to be 2 – 3 feet below the surface of the water. Without any warning something grabbed my right foot pulling me off my board. A dorsal fin popped up 1 – 2 feet in front of my face. At that moment I new what was happening and began to scream, Shark! The shark tried to pull me down and began to shake my leg. I stabbed it with the tail end of my surfboard 3 – 5 times and it let go. I jumped back on my board and paddled for shore.” Larson and Ruddick described the shark as “dark grey in color with a dorsal fin 18 – 24 inches in height and 2 – 3 feet wide across its back.” White Sharks are known to frequent the coastal waters of Oregon, especially those near river mouths during months that salmon and steelhead spawn. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Manresa State Beach On August 19, 2006 at about 12:30 PM a number of individuals witnessed a predatory event by a White Shark on a pinniped at Manresa State Beach. Joe Wheadon and Brett Roach reported the incident to the Shark Research Committee and David (last name unknown) filed a report with Surfline.com. The sky was overcast with the shark and prey about 100 yards from the beach. Roach was surfing and recounted; “The seals in the area were swimming in about 6 to 10 feet of water. They were staying about 20 feet away from the surfers and it seamed like they were just going about their business and watching people. After the attack they went in close to the beach, say 3 feet of water maybe 4. They kept popping up their heads, about a third of their body length out of the water looking back where the attack occurred. They stay in close for roughly 45 minutes before venturing out further into the water. The shark was 15 – 18 feet in length and its back and fins were dark grey to black.” David recalled; “I went surfing at Manresa State Beach with my brother. There were several other surfers in the water close by. I was sitting on my surfboard waiting for a wave when the other surfer shouted shark! We were in 4 foot of water and quickly paddled to shore. Once on shore we observed a huge shark attacking a seal. We could see the seal flapping madly in the water with a lot of blood in the ocean spray that was being thrown into the air during the battle” Wheadon reported; “I was surfing just south/east of the Manresa State Beach parking lot and was summoned out of the water by a lifeguard in a truck driving down the beach yelling to ‘get out of the water’ that there was a shark in the water. The story was that the shark came about half way out of the water when it initially hit the seal, then circled with the dorsal fin out of the water, went under again and then hit the seal one more time and continued to feed. I saw a lot of birds in the water where people said the shark had been but never saw the shark.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Reservation Road, Marina On August 17, 2006 Patrick Johnson was surfing near Reservation Road, Marina about 3 miles South of Moss Landing. It was 9:45 AM and he had been in the water about one hour. It was cloudy with some intermittent sunshine. The water and air temperatures where estimated to be in the low and upper 60’s respectively. Johnson was about 70 yards from the beach in water that was 4 – 8 feet deep. Channels were present on either side of the break. Dolphins had been present during his entire time on the water. He recalled; “The dolphins had been coming into the line-up all morning. They were more aggressive than I had seen in the past. The large dolphins were swimming laps around the smaller ones, and seemed as though they (large dolphins) were pushing the smaller ones into shallow water. At one point I saw a large triangular fin following the smaller dolphins about 30 yards further out from shore than my location. Then when the smaller ones caught a open faced wave, they swam straight for shore. .Behind them going north bound in the wave was a 12 – 15 foot White Shark swimming very fast into the inside. We were surfing on the end of a sandbar, where the rip current was pulling from the north to south. There was a dead seal lion on the beach but without any obvious bites on the body. Later I found out that earlier in the morning some friends were doing some tow's at the Salinas River Beach, about 3 miles south of Marina, were chased out of the water by a 15 foot White Shark.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Monica On August 12, 2006 Brendan Cowles and several friends were surfing at Bay Street, Santa Monica. It was about 9:45 AM when he observed the following; “I saw at least 2 very big fish (10 – 15 feet at least) feeding 500 – 800 yards south of our location. We know they were big because even though they were far away, we could easily make out the large dorsal fins (at least 2 feet high) as they circled and breached. A US Coast Guard helicopter hovered over the fish for several minutes then, when what appeared to be feeding stopped, the sharks disappeared. It seemed as though the helicopter was following their movements north for the next 20 – 30 minutes. If I had to guess I would say we were looking at some large sharks, maybe Great Whites.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Newport Beach On August 6, 2006 Ryan Christofferson was body boarding at the 40th Street Jetty in Newport Beach. It was 3:30 PM and he had been in the water one hour. The sky was clear with an air temperature in the upper 70s. The ocean was choppy with the temperature in the low 70s. The depth of the water was 10 – 15 feet with visibility 15 – 20 feet as the sandy bottom could be seen clearly from the surface. Christofferson recounted; “I was sitting maybe 10 – 20 yards north of the end of the jetty waiting for a set. I looked toward the Southwest at the end of the jetty and spotted the shark swimming very slowly on the surface, north in my direction. It was swimming perpendicular to me, parallel to shore. It didn't even seem to notice me even though I was maybe 20 yards from it. It submerged very slowly into some murky water caused by a rip at the end of the jetty at which point I decided to exit the water. I'm very familiar with marine life in the area and haven't seen anything like it ever. It was swimming in a very lazy and slow manner almost as if it were sick or hurt. The shark was charcoal grey/black, 6 – 8 feet in length with a thick body and a classic torpedo shape.” 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.
Short Sands Beach, Oregon On July 31, 2006 Robert Martin was surfing with his friend Lisa Humphreys about 100 yards from shore at Short Sands Beach in Oswald State Park, Oregon. It was 4:30 PM and he had been in the water about 3 hours. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 80 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. The water was 12 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom with 5 – 10 feet of visibility. Martin recalled; “I was surfing away from the other surfers when I was hit from behind in a wave. I was clear and was hit hard from directly behind me, just as I was jumping up on the board. I had my leg hanging off on the left side (bad form) as I was paddling to catch the wave. I did catch the wave and while the thought of a shark went through my mind, I was also trying to think of other possibilities. My leg hurt, but I did paddle back out on the rip to ask if anyone saw anything in the surf. The few surfers out that evening at Short Sands said that I was clear, but had not seen when I got up on the wave. I surfed back in, but by now my leg was very painful, so I paddled in to the beach. When I was laying my board down, my friend yelled, "What happened? You have a hole in your wet suit" I was immediately alarmed and I felt a hole in the wet suit and my hand came away bloody. I took off the suit and found two large triangular cuts separated by a strange serrated pattern of scrapes. I was done surfing for the day and was pretty convinced that I was likely hit by a shark. I cleaned the wound and applied antiseptic, no professional medical treatment was undertaken.” 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.
Incinerator Beach, Vancouver, B.C. On July 29, 2006 Paulette Dilks was surfing with her son Allan, and three other companions, off Incinerator Beach in Pacific Rim Park, Vancouver, British Columbia. It was mid-afternoon and they had been in the water about one hour. The sky was overcast with a mild breeze. Air and water temperatures were estimated in the mid 60s and 50s Fahrenheit respectively. They were 200 – 300 yards from the beach with small waves (2 – 4 feet) and widely spaced sets. The water was about 15 feet deep with a sandy ocean bottom and limited visibility from an algae bloom and flat light. Although pinnipeds are known to frequent this area, none were observed. There were about 10 surfers 1/8 of a mile south of our location. Dilks recalled; “We were all sitting on our boards facing out to sea when I saw the fins appear about 50 yards further out from our location. I said, ‘Oh no, I'm going in.’ Allan hesitated momentarily to be sure the sharks did not alter their course and follow us to shore. The fins glided rapidly along the surface of the water swimming parallel to the beach heading South. They were dark in color, nearly black, and 12 – 18 inches in height. They were swimming almost side-by-side with one fin slightly ahead of the other. After several seconds one fin slowly submerged with the second fin following after several more seconds. The fins did not reappear. Although everyone made light of the sighting while on the beach, no one disputed what we had collectively seen. I have worked on a salmon trawler and know what shark fins look like versus dolphins or orcas. This is not my first sighting at this location and must assume that there are large sharks occasionally in the vicinity.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Point Dume/Paradise Cove On July 25, 2006 Moshe Levi and a friend were free diving at Point Dume/Paradise Cove about 3 miles North of Malibu. He was wearing a black wetsuit, flippers, snorkel and mask. It was 12 PM and they had been in the water about 40 minutes. The sky was clear with an air temperature in the low 80s. The sea was glassy with a temperature in the upper 60s. They were in water 15 feet deep with like visibility over a sandy ocean bottom. Levi recalled; “I was snorkeling at the surface, looking down along the bottom for halibut. I saw several large fish, possibly white sea bass, moving quickly underneath me. I was about to dive towards the bottom when an enormous grey shadow came into view. I froze as it glided within 10 – 15 feet of me. My friend was right next to me so I looked over to see if he had seen it. His jaw was dropped and his eyes were bulging. I have seen all kinds of sharks in the Paradise Cove area because I go spear fishing once a week. It seems every time I paddle out passed the cove I catch at least 1 shark ranging from 3 – 5 1/2 feet in length. I always hope for a large sea bass or halibut, but every time it's a shark. In this case the shark was gliding along the bottom about 15 feet from my location. From my vantage point the shark had a grey top and was at least 12 feet in length. The shark looked like it was the size of a school bus, probably due to underwater magnification. It was chasing after the large fish I was about to dive after.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Four Mile Beach On July 25, 2006, at about 6:00 PM, Mike Sach was surfing at Four Mile Beach near Santa Cruz. Sach reported the following: “I noticed some splashing on the inside channel. Four-Mile Beach is a point break surrounded by kelp with an inside channel that is free from kelp. Since the waves were not very good, I was just enjoying being out there and checking out the wildlife. There were a few sea otters and what appeared to be a large porpoise or dolphin with a very small calf. Suddenly this huge porpoise jumped completely out of the water about 40 yards from shore in the channel. This is about 60 yards inside and about 60 yards south from the point where about 20 of us were trying to surf. I kept looking. I've seen porpoise and dolphin almost every time I've surfed in my 30 years of surfing so it wasn't that big of a deal. Then I saw two triangular dorsal fins pop up right behind where this huge porpoise jumped and I could also see the small calf right behind it. It was pretty shocking. I thought it was probably just another porpoise with an odd shaped dorsal so I kept looking at the spot with interest. Then there they were again, two triangular dorsal fins 18-20 inches in height accompanied by a lot of splashing. I mentioned to a couple of other surfers that I thought there was a Great White Shark inside the channel. Just to make sure I wasn't seeing things I asked 3 or 4 of them to check it out. We decided to paddle in and continued to watch from shore as the splashing moved further outside beyond the surf break. I'm certain that I saw two sharks.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Cojo Ranch On July 22, 2006 Stacy Berro had been surfing for about one hour at Little Cojo Point, Cojo Ranch, located South of Point Conception. It was 6:00 PM and the sky was clear. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 90 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. Water was 10 – 15 feet deep over a rocky bottom with sandy areas scattered throughout. The water was clear with 2 – 4 foot waves. Berro recounted; “We had been observing the seals in the area during most of our time on the water. Within about 10 minutes prior to the shark sighting no one in our group of 4 had observed any of the seals we had seen earlier. We were approximately 50 yards from shore. The shark surfaced about 70 yards from shore and 20 yards beyond our location. It swam parallel to the shore for about 25 yards then submerged out of sight. The dorsal fin was 2 – 2.5 feet high, dark grey to black in coloration with the shark 15 – 18 feet in total length.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Rio Del Mar Beach On July 18, 2006 Dan Kingsbook was surfing about 75 yards from shore at the South end of Rio Del Mar Beach (AKA Beercan Beach), just North of Hidden Beach near Santa Cruz. It was 8 AM and he had been in the water about one hour. Air and water temperatures were estimated to be in the mid-60s and 50s respectively. The sky was clear with little or no wind and the sea glassy with 2 – 3 foot waves. The water was 5 – 6 feet deep with a sandy bottom and ‘very good’ visibility. Kingsbook recalled; “A long wave set had passed through and I had spent several minutes paddling out. I had been sitting on my board waiting for a wave for about a minute since my last move when I first saw the shark about 20 feet beyond my location. It was silhouetted in an oncoming swell. Then the shark's dorsal fin broke the surface only a few inches and I could see it swimming slowly and calmly south near the surface, with its upright tail fin clearly visible in the clear water. Upon realizing what it was I turned towards the beach and paddled as quickly as I could toward the shore. Once arriving on the beach I looked back out to see if I could see it but it was gone. The shark was 10 – 12 feet in length, dark brown or gray on top and ‘chunky.’ The shark’s movements at all times were calm and non-aggressive. I observed a seal in the surf about 20 minutes following the encounter.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Ocean Beach On July 18, 2006 Paul Griffes was surfing off Ocean Beach in the vicinity of Judah. It was 6:00 PM and he had been in the water about 30 minutes. It was sunny and warm with the air temperature in the low 70s. Water depth was 6 – 8 feet over a sandy ocean bottom with visibility 2 – 3 feet. The ocean conditions were 4 – 5 feet. Dolphins were observed in the area 15 minutes following the encounter. Griffes recounted; “I was paddling my surfboard from a location directly west of Judah (Ocean Beach) southward to a small cluster of other surfers. I was alone. When I was approximately 20 – 25 yards from the other surfers I saw a large dorsal fin (at least 24 inches visible above the water) between myself and the other surfers. The dorsal fin was approximately 10 – 15 yards away from me and moving directly towards me at a very fast speed. I continued looking long enough to be certain of what I was seeing and then turned and paddled for the beach. I caught a wave within 30 seconds and rode it to the sand. When I got out of the water there was another surfer standing on the beach who had also seen the fin. He described the same size fin in the same location. About 5 minutes later two more surfers exited the water in the same area stating that they'd also seen the fin.” 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.
Monterey Plaza Beach On June 17, 2006 Jon Piatt was diving with two companions off the beach in front of the Monterey Plaza Hotel on Cannery Row near Drake Avenue between the USCG Pier and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. He was dressed in a black dry suit and BC with grey swim fins and tank and orange boots. It was 11:10 AM and they had been in the water 25 minutes. They were about 150 yards from the beach in water 25 – 29 feet deep. Water and air temperatures were recorded at 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. Piatt reported: “I dove along the bottom to the edge of the kelp bed to the open bay 30 feet beyond the kelp. I reentered the kelp bed about 20 – 50 feet and was hovering 2 feet above the bottom, moving slowly and hovering when I was struck from behind forcefully, shaken slightly, and pulled back. I received a slight whiplash from the initial impact. No medical treatment was received. Teeth marks were embedded on my tank boot.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Sporthaven Beach, Oregon On June 16, 2006 Scott Graves of the Curry Coastal Pilot and Russ Johnson of Sessions Surf Shop in Brookings reported five surfers were chased from the water at Sporthaven Beach by a White Shark 10 – 12 feet in length. The encounter occurred in the morning with the surfers 20 – 30 feet off the South Jetty of the Chetco River. One of the unidentified surfers reported; “It bumped one of the surfers and spun him around before disappearing, Two other guys surfing nearby saw the fin and splash and then saw it circling around them. Luckily, there was a wave coming and we all caught it to the beach.” White Sharks are known to frequent the Southern Oregon coast. Please report any shark sighting, encounter or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Huntington Beach On June 15, 2006 Damian De Blis was surfing 300 – 400 yards from shore on the South side of the Huntington Beach Pier. It was 1:30 PM and he had been in the water about 30 minutes. The water was about 20 feet deep with a sandy ocean floor. Water temperature was in the mid-60s with a clear sky and a temperature in the mid-70s. De Blis recounted; “I was sitting on my board waiting for a wave when I saw a shark’s dorsal fin 30 – 40 yards from my location. It was moving very slowly and deliberately in my direction. Its motion was steady back and forth moving across the water. I immediately turned toward the beach and paddled in after I ruled out that it was not a dolphin. This incident was unsettling to me because at the time the shark was moving in my direction there was no one else in my immediate area. The single fin was large enough to scare even an experienced surfer to shore.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Coronado Beach Kristina Crowell-Swenson reported the following; “At around 7:00 PM on Monday, June 12 ,2006 there was a shark sighting and encounter at Coronado Beach. My family had been boogie boarding for a little over an hour. There were a considerable number of people on the beach and in the water. I observed in a cresting wave 50 – 100 feet off shore the silhouette of a shark 7 – 10 feet in length. My daughter was waiting for a wave in water 4-5 feet deep. I watched as the shark glided directly behind her as she caught the wave and headed in toward the beach. The shark remained in the area circling three more times.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Refugio State Beach, Santa Barbara On June 3, 2006 Erik Hoyer was free diving off Refugio State Beach, Santa Barbara. It was 5 PM and he had been in the water about 30 minutes. He was wearing a black/blue wetsuit and carried a yellow goodie bag and orange spear. The ocean floor was rocky with some scattered kelp plants and a water temperature in the low 60s. Water depth was about 20 feet with 4 feet of visibility. The sky was clear with an air temperature in the mid-70s. Hoyer recalled; “I was collecting sea bass and had shot one about ten minutes before the shark appeared. The shark did a swim by, coming from my right sides towards me. It ‘checked me out’ and swam off towards my left side. It was 5 – 6 feet in length. I then laid on my back at the surface and slowly used my fins to swim into shore. I remember the shark being slender and grey in color.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Laguna Beach On May 19, 2006 Mike Dippel was surfing off Laguna Beach at 10th Street and ‘Thousand Steps.’ It was 11 AM and he had been in the water about 30 minutes. The sky was clear with the air temperature 65 – 70 degrees. The water was 6 – 8 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom with a temperature in the mid-60s. Dippel recounted; “I was waiting for a set wave about 25 yards offshore when I observed a shark’s dorsal fin about 10 yards from my location. The shark was 4 – 5 feet in length, grey in color and appeared to be fatigued or sick. It approached my board and nudged it gently. It then turned in towards shallow water. The shark was washed up onto the beach by a set wave and pounded onto the sand. It attempted to make its way out back through the shore break 4-5 times before finally being washed back out to sea. I exited the water in fear that a larger shark might be near by.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Pt. Dume/Paradise Cove On May 7, 2006 Sean Elliott and Evan Rutowski were surfing off Pt. Dume at Paradise Cove about 2 miles North of Malibu. It was 12 PM and they had been in the water about two hours. The sea was calm and glassy with a few sets from the South West. Water visibility was poor with a temperature in the mid-50s. The sky was clear and sunny with the air temperature about 75degrees. Elliott recalled; “We noticed a dark grey, almost black, triangular dorsal fin about 100 yards from our location. It appeared to be about 12 inches in height. The trailing edge of the fin was very jagged and ripped along its border. It slowly swam in our direction and disappeared from view for several minutes. We then observed it when it surfaced about 15 yards from our position. The shark swam directly beneath us and looked like it was a grey color. Its swimming motion was smooth and deliberate. We did not see it again after it passed under our boards.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
LA/Ventura County Line On April 13, 2006, Richard Powell was photographing surfers from a bluff at County Line Beach, about one mile north of the LA/Ventura county line on Pacific Coast Highway. There were an undetermined number of surfers in the water on mostly white long and short boards. It was 10:30 AM and the surfers had been in the water about 3 hours. The sky was clear and the sea surface glassy with the water depth 20 – 25 feet. Water visibility was 15 – 20 feet with a rock/sand bottom and some kelp present. Powell recalled; “I observed a shark, 8 – 10 feet in length surface approximately 200 yards offshore and 100 yards out past the farthest surfer. The fin traveled west to east without deviation (vertical or horizontal) for over 150 yards. The fin then submerged and did not reappear after a pod of dolphins approached from the direction it was swimming.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Huntington Cliffs On March 24, 2006 Jeff Hartwig observed what appeared to be a predation by a large animal 600 – 800 yards from shore off Huntington Cliffs, between Golden West Street and the second parking lot, also known as ‘The Gap.’ It was 10:45 AM and the sky was clear with a mild breeze. The air and water temperatures where estimated to be in the mid-50s. Hartwig reported; “I observed a number of seagulls flying low and alighting to possible feed on something. I then observed a large splash causing the gulls to fly off the ocean and fly around in a circle. Another large splashing of water happened, much too large for a crashing seagull. The large splashes occurred a total of three times and it reminded me of what is shown on television when a shark is tearing at something and taking a bite then returning to feed again. Needless to say I left the water, I was cold anyway....and I did wish to keep all appendages for future use.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Carpinteria On March 10, 2006 officials of the City of Carpinteria issued a warning that a White Shark had been observed off the Harbor Seal Sanctuary near the Casitas Pier. It was reported that two Harbor Seals had been killed by a White Shark on March 9. A volunteer with Seal Watch reported the first attack occurred at 10:55 AM and the second at 11:20 AM. The shark was estimated to be 14 – 16 feet in length. Only one shark was observed to be responsible for both predatory attacks. The attacks occurred 30 – 40 yards from the beach near a buoy. A photograph of the shark’s dorsal and caudal fins confirmed its identity. White Sharks have been reported from this area for decades by commercial fisherman. 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.
Fort Ross On February 22, 2006 Clark Hale, Dave Sereni and Roy Irwin were free diving South of Fort Ross at the North end of Reef Terras (Pencil Reef) near the camp grounds. It was 1:30 PM and they had been in the water 1.5 to 2 hours. The sea was calm and the swell in Bodega Bay was 4 feet at 14 seconds, according to Hale. The sky was clear and there was little or no wind. The water was 40 – 50 feet deep with 10 – 12 feet of visibility and an estimated temperature in the low 50s. The ocean floor was comprised of large boulders with some sand patches scattered around the caves and crevasses. There were an undetermined number of pinnipeds on the rocks. Hale recounted; “We started out diving in and around a shallow cove where I shot multiple fish. Roy Irwin and I decided to kick out to where Dave Sereni was spearfishing, about 300 yards from our location. We shot a number of fish when I noticed a big school of blue rockfish. They were very wary and swimming back and forth at high speeds. I told Dave there were some big blues below us but they were very skittish.’ I took a dive to about 40 feet and the school came right in front of me. I speared one and swam up to my shaft, which was on bottom. Then something to the right of me caught my attention. At first I thought it was a whale due to the grey color. Then I saw the white belly and caudal fins, I didn't see any claspers. It was so close to me I could have touched it. The girth on the fish was most impressive. From the bottom to top was 4 – 5 feet thick. The shark turned away from me towards my other two dive partners that were about 15 – 20 feet from me. I surfaced and grabbed my boogie board and calmly kicked to a rock that was about 30 feet away. I climbed to the top and screamed ‘Get out of the water, Shark.’ It took about one minute for Dave to hear me. He started kicking to the rock and when he saw the expression on my face he knew why I was up there. He made it to the rock but Roy Irwin was still in the water. The two of us were screaming and yelling at him. We then watched Roy almost jump out of the water. The shark had made a pass around him and came straight at him from the open ocean. It then veered to the left exposing the big white belly. He recalls that he had to draw his arm back as the shark was so close to his gun. Roy remembers seeing the pointed nose, the gills all the way to the tail and. After the shark swam by Roy, he turned around to yell ‘Shark’ and saw that both of us were on the rock. He was very calm kicking to the rock and kept his face down scanning to see if the shark was going to make another pass at him. We waited on the rock for about 45 minutes to one hour. For the majority of that time we were trying to get the attention of several people on board a boat that was South of our location on the other side of the reef. They never noticed us. After talking it over we came up with a plan to hop on are boogie boards side by side and calmly kick to a series of rocks that led all the way into shore. The kick was about 150 yards to the rocks and then another 300 yards to shore. We never saw the shark again. The White Shark was 12 – 14 feet in length.” White Sharks are known to frequent this area. Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Half Moon Bay On January 22, 2006 Chris Courtney and four companions were walking along Surfer Beach, Half Moon Bay, scouting for a surfing locale adjacent to the breakwater. It was 7:15 AM and the sky was clear. The ocean with glassy smooth with a 2 to 4 foot swell and the air temperature was in the 40s. Courtney recounted; “We were on shore scouting for a surf locale when one member of our group (Preston) said he saw something surface. We then saw it surface again 3 more times at first we hoped it might be a dolphin but there was no blowing and it was all alone and seemed to be just lurking and rolling around a bit in the water. We never saw the head just the fin on the back and sides and the tail fin. One thing that made me pretty sure it was a shark was the rather thin and lean quality near the rear fin. It was early no one was out yet and it was cold and pretty glassy. We opted to go to Linda Mar instead. Thought it might be good to report in case there are more sightings but there was no immediate threat as we were not in the water. The shark was at least 10 feet in length and swam slowly at the surface 25 – 50 feet from shore. It was grey in color and the dorsal fin and tail were clearly visible.” Caution should be exercised when using this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.
Santa Cruz On January 18, 2006 Mario Lari and a companion were night surfing at Second Bowl, 'The Hook,' Santa Cruz. They had been in the water about 3.5 hours and Lari was less than 100 yards from shore. The water was about 8 feet deep over a flat rock reef. Lari reported the following; “My friend and I were night surfing Second Bowl at ‘The Hook’ in Santa Cruz. I had paddled out around 7:00PM. My friend was already in the water. I checked before going out, it was between 0' and 1/2' foot low tide at that point. It was glassy. The water was warmer than usual for January. There was no wind. The sky changed from partly cloudy to clear. The waves were about head high and soft on the bigger sets and there was about a 5 minute wait between sets. At 9:38PM, by my watch, the moon came up. We had been about 150 yards from shore but moved-in to a little more than half that distance as the tide filled in and the bowl shifted and the shape got better. At about 10:30PM my friend took what I thought might be his last wave. I had been sitting on my board and at this point I placed my legs down to get ready (during night surfing I usually keep my feet on top of my board). My board was at a 45 degree angle away from the shore when I felt a soft push against my upper left thigh. I felt spaced wide points distributed on a rough oval shape on the top and bottom of my thigh; from the bottom of my buttocks to the middle of my thigh. It lasted but a fraction of a second and I must stress it felt extremely gentle. I started paddling toward the beach as hard as I could while trying not to keep my arms too long in the water. My legs were bent at the knee and my feet were up while paddling. I looked back once, immediately after turning around, but saw nothing. As I paddled, I yelled ‘Shark!’ once at the top of my lungs, but thought the noise might attract it back so I stopped; after a few more strokes I realized that my friend might have paddled back out so I started yelling ‘Shark!’ repeatedly as loud as I could. I paddled about half the distance to shore before a wave broke behind me and I was able to catch the white water in. Once on shore I saw my friend getting out of the water some distance away from me. I told him what had just happened. He told me he saw nothing. Upon close examination on the outside of the left wet-suit leg, at the height of the bottom quarter of the buttock and below the leg seam, there are two very small nicks 1/16" wide by 1/16" deep. The nicks are very similar in shape and are 9/16” apart, perpendicular to the direction of the leg, and 1 3/8” below the seam that runs the length of the leg. On the outside of the leg 8 3/16” below the two upper nicks there is a slightly larger nick 3/16” wide by 1/8” deep. It is located 2 7/16” below the previously mentioned seam. There are no other nicks, cuts, or abrasions on the outside of the wetsuit.” The diameter of the bite arch is slightly more than 9 inches. A positive identification of the species of shark responsible for this incident is not possible. Ocean water activities following sunset are not recommended due to the obvious inherent risks associated with this activity. 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.