Whitey Comes to Town…Again

‘Tis the season for shark attacks on California’s Central Coast, experienced first-hand by Orcutt’s Ben Ikola the afternoon of Saturday, October 2, just south of the Pismo Beach pier.Ikola, 16, was enjoying smallish windswell and balmy early-autumn sun when, after something rough and scaly brushed against his leg, he was tossed from his board. Not knowing what exactly had just occurred, Ikola swam frantically to the beach.

“In my mind I was just thinking, get out of the water,” he told the Santa Maria Times.

Experts say Ikola’s aggressor was likely a juvenile white shark, about 12 feet long.

Ikola was uninjured, but his board wasn’t so lucky. He says he will surf again once he can afford a new stick, though his mauled 7-footer will make a great souvenir.Authorities closed Pismo and Avila beaches for five days following Ikola’s incident.The attack comes just over a year after a 50-year-old woman was killed by a white shark while swimming off Avila, a few miles north of Pismo.