Hammerhead, Great White Sharks Haunt California Beaches


Several dangerous shark encounters off California’s coast this past weekend prompted closures at beaches in San Diego and near Morro Bay after a group of kayakers captured footage of their encounter with a hammerhead shark, and one woman had a great white shark bite a chunk out of her surfboard.

The Associated Press reports that Elinor Dempsey was surfing at Morro Strand State Beach on Saturday morning when a shark swam up to her board and chomped on it, leaving a nearly 14-inch bite mark. Lifeguards immediately ordered the beach be closed for 72 hours and issued warnings at nearby beaches.

Meanwhile, five hours south of the coast in San Diego, a group of kayakers were able to capture their encounter with an 8- to 10-foot hammerhead on video. Local NBC affiliate in San Diego notes that the shark was circling them and swimming under their kayaks in an aggressive and stalking manner, even going so far as following them back to shore.

The incident took place between La Jolla Cove and Scripps Pier and the beach was closed for the rest of the day as a precautionary measure.

Lifeguard Andy Lerum suggested the kayakers may have had food on board which could have been the cause for attracting the shark.

NBC notes that while hammerheads rarely present a threat to humans, a diver had his hand bitten by one earlier this month nearly 100 miles off San Diego’s coast.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.


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