The Beast just found this toe-curler from yesterday posted on Pacific Coast Shark News 2006.
Isla Vista, Santa Barbara — 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.
“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.”
This comes two weeks after an Oregon Surfer was attacked by a white shark that grabbed him by the foot and tried to pull him off his board. He fought back, ramming the board into its face repeatedly until it let go. The surfer made it to shore.
The West Coast is very sharky right now, sightings are way up, which is common for the fall when seals and sea lions (a favored food source) gather to breed. Salmon and steelhead also school up at rivermouths at this time of the year to prepare to run up and drop their eggs.
Ever since white sharks became a protected species in California, encounters and attacks have become much more common. The Beast presumes that removal of fishing pressure has increased the population – there are simply more whites around – so more interaction with humans. Combine that with more seals and people in the water than ever before and it’s Bon Appétit!