Man-eater in my backyard!

Fatal Shark Attack in North San Diego County

Well, not technically eaten but… the fuck!? Not supposed to happen here. Then again, the sort of thing that is bound to from time to time that we’d prefer not to think about. “Greater chance of getting hit by lightning” and all that.

This just happened this morning and the local community of surfers and other watermen and women is already tripping big time. Myself, I don’t get in the water as much as I used to except in the summer but I sometimes fish from my kayak and launch from the beaches right around Solana Beach. Going to be a factor in my plans for the next few weekends I can tell you that.

I await Quint’s thoughts on the matter.

Too bad about that, but it is true about the lighting and the bee stings. Sharks are way scarier to think about, though.

Sharks? Scary? Naw. Look how cuddly this guy would look 5 feet from you underwater.

Why exactly is it not supposed to happen in San Diego?

— Alan

Wow. Is this the first true documented attack on a swimmer in San Diego? I’ve always known when swimming or surfing that there are white sharks in the water but somehow San Diego has a no shark attack sort of reputation.

There have been a couple that are questionable, like the diver in the cove in the 50s and some lady that washed up near OB with parts missing. I also seem to recall a kayaker getting attacked off of Children’s Cove back in the 90s.

How long until we learn there was a dead whale buried at that beach years ago?

I lived for 20 some years in shark infested waters, and I can count one one hand the number of attacks. It’s like getting struck by lightning.

There are actually a few sharks between South Orange County and San Diego. There’s a pair of Great Whites living off a beach south of Dana Pointe.

Maybe you guys need to release some of your captive dolphin population.

hero dolphins

I think its even rarer than that. As a surfer I’ve made a minor study of this stuff and I can authoritatively speak out my ass -

The number of (fatal) shark attacks on humans has stayed about the same (12 a year or so) since the number of shark attacks have been recorded (started in the 40’s sometime).

The number of humans in the water has more than exponentially expanded, while the attack numbers have stayed the same. We aren’t on the menu, just too boney.

Most shark attacks are from young sharks mistaking swimmers as seals (dude was 150 yard off shore at 7 am) or in rare cases, testing bites. A young shark will sometimes bite stuff just to see if they can eat it. That’s why most people survive a shark attack - we don’t taste like sweet blubbery seals, so the shark doesn’t come back.

Sharks tend to like to come straight up from a depth of 60’ or so. (Which is why its surfers and not so often swimmers who get hit) I remember a Shark Week episode where they floated a seal shape with a camera that pointed down near the Farallons…the image of a great white, emerging from the depths, teeth first, at about 50 mph is burned onto my memory.

So even though I have rationalized the hell out of my risk of shark attack…when I’m sitting in a lineup, even if I know I’m on beach break that’s only 12’ deep, I get The Fear.

That’s all you have left?

Mostly I was just trying to convey the feeling that ‘this is the sort of things that happens somewhere else, not in my backyard’, y’know? South Africa or Australia. Florida or Hawaii. Even up in Nor Cal (red triangle, great-white breeding grounds). But not here.

Historically; very rare to sight GWs or any predatory type shark south of Los Angeles, or even Point Conception (up past Santa Barbara). And yet they are often in great numbers around islands off of Baja, MX to our south so we know they must come through.

And I guess the verdict isn’t in yet but all signs point to this being a “Great White”; mostly because there aren’t any other candidates known to these waters that come in the 12 - 17 foot size.

Is it because a shark ate your other hand? I didn’t think lightning would feel the same, but if you say so.

I can’t imagine it being anything other than a great white in San Diego. We don’t have Bulls or Tigers, we get Blues near the shore sometimes but they’re of course much smaller, same with Mako, Thresher, etc. I knew a lifeguard who was bit by a Leopard Shark but I think they pulled its tail or somesuch.

My understanding is that most white shark attacks on humans are not true predatory attacks but rather curiosity. Most people are bit once, not that hard, and usually make it back to the beach. It’s the blood loss that gets you.


  • Riddick

Did you get out and dry off every now and then? All that salt can be hell on your skin.

He’s the basis for the Kevin Costner character in Waterworld.

— Alan

I have to say, all the pithy responses to my post have given me the giggles all day. Well played, gentlemen!

I always find it interesting that the officials flip out and shut down all the beaches, like suddenly there are going to be tons of killer sharks, ohnoes!

I had a dream the other night that a Tiger smashed its way into my parents’ house.

Tangentially, I saw a Thresher whilst on a whale watch setting sail from Bar Harbor, Maine. It was quite a sight!

Much to my amazement I have through various situations found I squarely fall in the fight category of fight or flight. But I know full well if I saw that thing 10 feet from me in the water I would void my bowels and hope I passed out.

On reflection at least with great white sharks I would probably never see it coming, since they like to breach the water with great force from underneath the target (see: Planet Earth)