VIA – MERCURY NEWS
Shark attacks kayak near Pleasure Point
PLEASURE POINT – A great white shark, estimated to be up to 18 feet long, sheared through the front end of a kayak floating about a quarter-mile from the popular Eastside surf spot known as Pleasure Point, authorities said.
The attack, which happened about 8:30 a.m. Saturday, is a rare occurrence for the area as no one has reported a shark bite in several decades in the waters around Santa Cruz County, according to Sean Van Sommeran of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation.
On Saturday, a 52-year-old Fremont man was fishing from his 13.5-foot kayak when he felt the shark bump up against the back of the boat.
Within seconds, the shark lifted up the kayak and attacked the front, sheriff’s deputies said.
The man, thrown from the kayak, was unharmed.
He was plucked from the ocean by a boater nearby who had witnessed the incident.
The man was fishing with two friends in about 40 feet of water just outside a kelp bed when the attack happened.
The man’s friends, in separate kayaks, were not injured.
The shark’s teeth sliced through the thick shell of the yellow kayak, and investigators extracted tooth fragments from the bite marks.
Van Sommeran was called to inspect the bite, and he immediately confirmed it was the work of a great white – the world’s largest predatory shark.
“Those teeth can go right through bones and saw apart seals,” Van Sommeran said. “They’re designed to dismantle sea animals. They rarely bite humans.”
While shark attacks in the Monterey Bay are rare, shark sightings are common.
It’s not unusual to hear of sharks being spotted near Seacliff and La Selva beaches, Van Sommeran said.
A great white was reportedly seen near Marina a week ago, he said.
There have been other cases locally where surfers or fishermen have come in contact with sharks.
In late October 2011, a surfer was attacked near Marina State Beach.
Eric Tarantino was surfing when he was bitten on the neck and arm along the right side of his body by a shark that took a 19-inch chunk from his surfboard.
In July 2007 near Bean Hollow State Beach in San Mateo County, a fisherman in a kayak had a brush with a great white.
The attack on the nose of the small boat reportedly threw the victim into the water. He jumped back on and was able to get back to shore before his boat took on too much water, witnesses said.
Sharks are known to cruise the California coast between October and January, feeding off seals and other sea life before heading farther out to sea for the winter.
Capitola police issued a text message alert on Saturday to warn surfers and beachgoers about the attack and advise caution when playing near the ocean.
“Enter at your own risk,” the message read.
Surfers and beachgoers appeared undaunted by news of the attack.
The head-high waves churning on Saturday…
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In his own words:
VIA – NOR CAL KAYAK DANGLERS
First of all I would like to thank my guardian angels who helped me survive my encounter with an apex predator today.
Hooked up with Kirk (LilRiverman) hoping to get some WSB or Halibut today. Kirk agreed to carpool and use his van for our drive to Capitola. As we were unloading, Chad (Fishadow) pulled in and joined us.
There were some big ground swells coming in followed by a long lull between the sets. We time the lull perfectly and launch without a hitch at about 7:15 AM. Conditions were thick fog and very limited visibility. It’s a good thing I have 5 inch color GPS plotter / FF combo that I always love to use. I can see my exact location.
I had my yellow Revo 13 with me. I just got it on May 18 it’s her 4th time out and still a virgin.
We all work our way North, conditions were still foggy with limited visibility. At about 8:15 Kirk mentions that he would like get his gear ready and we all agreed to do the same.
We were just outside the kelp beds close to Pleasure Point in about 40 feet of water. I look west and see a small private boat with 4 passengers about 200 feet away. I will forever be grateful to these 4 people, Kirk and Chad.
I had 2 rods already to go, baited with squid and noticed I was getting close to the kelp. I started slowly pedaling away. At approximately 8:25 AM, I was about half way between my yak buddies and the private boat.
It started with a violent jolt on the rear starboard side. The back of my kayak rose a few feet then the attack soon happened. I saw the shark’s head come out of the water and bite the starboard underside.
His head was gray and white underneath his mouth. His mouth was already close when I saw him come out of the surface with my kayak in his mouth. I can still vividly see the seriousness on his eyes.
This all happened in about 2 seconds.
The force of his attack threw me into the water and turned the Revo completely upside down. I immediately started yelling, SHARK, SHARK! several times. My first instinct was to get on top of the upside down kayak. I tried this once but I just slide off. I see the private boat heading towards me and in a flash decided it’s my best chance of survival. I did a slow breast stroke towards the boat and jumped abroad. The only time I was really worried was when my feet were still in the water and Mr. Jaws would a take a parting bite.
I was never in a panic and always fully cognizant of what happening around me.
The private boaters turned out to be Filipinos just like me. I could hear Kirk ask them if they could tow my kayak back to the Capitola Pier and thankfully they agreed. We were having some small talk and they told me they also have a Malibu tandem they use in the area. Guess they won’t be using it soon.
We slowly motored towards the pier’s boat ramp and pull my kayak on top. We exchanged phone numbers to keep in touch. Big swells were rolling and I had to do a balancing act. At that time there were 2 guys on rental kayaks going out fishing. I told to be careful and still went on their way.
I opened the bow hatch was surprised to find about 6 inches of water inside. I was really surprised because it towed gracefully. I brought out my bilge pump and pumped the water out. Pretty soon Kirk, Chad and JTfishing join me on the dock. JTfishing saw us coming in and also had enough. We bring our yaks on top of the pier and word spreads quickly about my incident.
News travels fast in this town, Sean Van Sommeran shows up with his camera. Bystanders were asking me repetitive questions.
As Kirk and I were loading to go home a Capitola community police officer comes towards us with his flashing lights on and starts taking a report, taking pictures and interviewing Chad and Kirk. I asked him how did he find out and tells a passerby told him. Then his sergeant show up asking me if I wanted to talk to the local news. I said no thanks.
We were loaded up and driving home and I get a call from the officer asking me to come over to the police station. Soon I was instructed to leave my kayak with them for scientific analysis and there it still sits. Upon closer examination the police chief himself …
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