A surfer in Huntington Beach was bumped by an “aggressive” great white shark on Friday while on his surfboard, prompting authorities to close two miles of the beach for approximately 24 hours. The incident came as a surprise considering that shark attacks in California have been on the decline, and have decreased significantly (90%) since the 1950s.
According to Los Angeles Fox affiliate KTLA 5, the sighting took place at 8:45 a.m. KTLA reported that the surfer, who is well-known to locals and lifeguards in the beach town, was a mere 30 yards from the shore when the shark, which he described as black in color and ranging in length between 5 and 8 feet, bumped his surfboard.
An alert from the city reportedly indicated, “The ‘bump’ meets the criteria for aggressive behavior, and with that our protocols call for a precautionary closure of the water for 1 mile in both directions.”
The shark left marks on the surfer’s board. Chris Lowe, who is a shark expert at Cal State University, Long Beach, told KTLA that the shark could have been curious and may have become scared, which caused it to react by bumping the board.
Though attacks are on the wane, shark sightings in Southern California have become more frequent, particularly over the past two years, as t warmer waters have deterred them from migrating south towards Hawaii as they ordinarily do during the spring and summer months. Seal Beach has begun monitoring the movements of juvenile great white sharks using drones.