Increased Shark Sightings In SoCal

Spring in on the horizon in Southern California and that can only mean one thing; Time for the annual shark sighting stories to scare the tourists and weekend surfers out of the water.

Just kidding.

But what is becoming a more common report are the sightings and encounters from around the Southern California areas. The following reports are taken directly from

REPORT #1:Santa Monica Beach — On March 14, 2008 Dan Burks was surfing at Santa Monica just South of Bay Street at about 7:45 AM. He reported; "I don't know what kind of shark it was, but I estimate its length at 8 or 9 feet. The back edge of the dorsal fin looked pretty scarred up. It was about 70 yards out from my location. It did not approach me and once submerged I did not see it again. Another surfer also saw the shark but I do not have his name."

REPORT #2:Huntington Beach — On March 7, 2008 Thomas Larkin was surfing with two friends. He recounted the following; "I was surfing a 6'6" Avisco (carbon fiber) Surf Prescriptions Bat Tail Quad. I paddled out at Dog Beach near Huntington Cliffs around 7:10 in the morning at a pretty full high tide. Dog Beach is located in a stretch of Huntington City Beach between Seapoint Street and Golden West Street. I was meeting two friends there, Matt Donoghue and Craig Angel. The current was moving around a lot of water, and both of them were on longboards, so about 20 minutes into the surf I was tired of paddling over to them on my shortboard, and was surfing pretty much alone. There were two bodyboarders about {{{100}}} yards north of me, and I was almost due west of the ramp walkway. At about 8:00 AM, I caught my best wave of the session, and even though Matt and Craig had already gotten out, I wanted one more. I paddled back out and was sitting in the lineup alone, with the closest surfers about {{{200}}} yards south, and the bodyboarders were inside and north. I was waiting for a set for about 5 minutes when I felt a jolt down on the tail of my board, immediately followed by violent bubble cascade, which sunk the board down about another 8 inches (see photograph). I didn't really get what was going on as quickly as I should have, but as soon as it begun it had ended and I was apparently alone again. A wave popped up, I paddled into it but pearled because of the water in the nose of my board, I quickly got back on and paddled into the whitewater of the next wave and boogie boarded it to the beach where I emptied the board through the apparent bite mark.” The diameter of the bite suggests an adult White Shark in excess of 15 feet in length.

REPORT #3:San Onofre State Beach — On March 5, 2008 Kelly Lewis reported the following: "The shark was spotted at the base of Trail One, San Onofre State Park at approximately 1:45 PM. It appeared to be about 6 feet long. It was thrashing violently until a set of waves came in to float it (see photographs). It then spent another 2 to 3 minutes in very shallow water sometimes on it’s back, eventually swimming into deeper water and disappearing. Dozens of seagulls were circling as if an opportunity existed. I had just been knee deep in the water a hundred yards south throwing a stick for my dog that was swimming well out into the surf. No surfers were in the water. My clothing doesn’t seem to be of any importance. The shark came ashore independent of any human interaction. The beach has a very flat sand bar {{{300}}} feet long that stays flat out another 200 feet. However at the area this shark was ashore there are rocky depressions that set up drainage ‘creeks’ that run parallel to the shore to drain away higher sets that flood over the sand bar at or around low tide. My guess is the shark just got washed in and ended up stranded until another ‘flooding set’ allowed him to find an escape route. It was very lethargic after the set re-floated it, and as you saw in the one picture it was on its back. It also swam on its side for a period of time. I thought it may have been seriously injured. There was pinkish, almost a diluted blood look along its belly."

So exercise a little caution out there this spring. Count those toes after each duck-dive, and be sure to report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.