Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Huntington Beach Shark Attack – Legit or worst April Fools Day prank ever?

So this story has been slowly creeping into the news over the last few days…

Apparently this guy, Tom Larkin, was surfing dog beach in Huntington, which is up between Bolsa Chica and the Huntington Beach Cliffs, and something munched his surfboard. (UPDATE: Make sure to read my interview with Tom Larkin)

On one side the surfer and a couple of scientists from the Shark Research Committee say that it was a great white shark.

On the other side you have the HB lifeguards and others with a lot of HB experience calling bullshit…mostly because they have not really observed really any great-white/human interaction along this stretch of coast.

Personally I am on the skeptical side…I surfed waaaaay up north for a number of years (in my misspent youth) and there is a definite feel to the type of ocean and conditions that great white sharks generally hunt in. Not to mention you always see a lot of collateral damage…headless sea-lions and other torn up sea-life, and a ton of stories from all the local fishermen.

In HB you just don’t have those things…I have never heard of any shark attack by a shark bigger than a small blue or sand shark in the nearly 18 years that I have lived here.

That being said wild animals are wild…they do crazy things sometimes…maybe this one just hates guys from the LA South Bay.

Anyway if you want more of the legit details check out Laylan Connelly’s article that ran over on the OCRegister.com

Here is the link…make sure to vote in the poll on her page. (She buys me more beer the more votes she gets…hmmmm beer)


One last thing…

I sort of feel bad for the surfer because of all the people calling BS on his story…especially if he really believes that he was about to be eaten…that has got to scare the poop right out of you. But I have to admit the guy has got really bad timing…it was almost April 1st and that area of Bolsa Chica has a reputation for surfers staging elaborate practical jokes (I am sure many of you remember the Red Nigerian Banded Salt Water Marsh Snakes).


Julie said...

Whether or not it actually happened, this was reported on March 7th so well before April Fools. It's been on the Shark Research Committee website for awhile as a legitimate attack. http://www.sharkresearchcommittee.com/pacific_coast_shark_news.htm

Adam Wright said...

Good point...but you have to admit the best pranks aren't the ones you pull on April Fools when everyone is expecting it.

I don't think that we are ever going to know if it is real or not until we get more definitive proof, (which hopefully won't be someone getting really munched).

Yong Jung Shin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mikej said...

I doubt it was a hoax for the reason that the story was originally reported March 7th and if you look at the pics he's got a good set of teeth marks on an extremely expensive C-Fbre board. You would have to be really stupid or incredibly rich to pull it off.

Anonymous said...

I can tell you that I'm pretty sure we have GW's in HB. I've lived here and surfed for most of my life. I'll tell you one thing I have seen headless sea lion carcasses on the beach. You have to be there right when it comes up as they clean it up right away. I'm thinkin' so people don't get scared and the media doesn't ruin the tourist attraction that HB is.

Anonymous said...

No Great Whites huh? On June 7th. 2003 An idiot named Abraham Ulloa caught and killed one on the Hermosa Beach pier. By the way it's illegal they are protected. He was so proud of himself breaking the law he stradled the shark and said "cheese" on the front page of the Daily Breeze. Which is the So. Bays local fish wrap. I'd be on the look out for little brown things attacking you that close to Seal Beach. Last I checked that's where the sewer meets the sea! Bottom line sharks live in the ocean and sometimes snack on dumb people. Like the lady in Avilla Beach.

Tim said...

Surfer with over 38 years of Golden West Street surfing experience...

Bathers can use common sense when entering the surf no matter where they are in the world.

Determine Three Things

1) What are the surf local's doing? Are they out in the water?

2) Is the surf beach located in a "Known Predator" location?

3) Are you in the water with other animals/humans on the predators list of things on the menu?

Then apply reason, logic and God given commons sense.

This greatly reduces the chance of experiencing an encounter with a predator on their "Home Surf."

Dog Beach Local,

Tim O'Toole

PS. The Day to Day risk in Huntington Beach are nearly nil. . . . until one does occur of course:0

Anonymous said...

I saw a White shark at Rivermouth (aka Dogs' Beach) in Del Mar a couple years before this HB sighting. After David Martin was attacked and killed in Solana Beach, the case was "re-opened" by the skeptical surfers I know. I think the same applies here in HB.

Despite the fact that Ralph Collier suggests that lifeguards leave shark "science" to the experts, he goes very far from science by theorizing that the White shark that attacked David Martin (i.e., in typical predatory fashion) did so out of some (as yet) wholly unproven theory that White sharks that are ready to give birth will attack anything in the area. How is that science? There is no data to study, no evidence of such a cause and effect.

Here, the shark bit and removed flesh twice (i.e., feeding). Second, no evidence the shark was pregnant. Third, nobody has the slightest clue where sharks give birth. It is most likely out in the open ocean- not along the coast where other, larger White sharks routinely patrol.