More Sharks in the Future! Thanks El Niño 2017

30 04 2017

We may need to change the name of this site to “Trestles Shark Crowd” in the future.

Over the last few years, the number of shark sightings has increased at Trestles and other local surf spots.  Shark experts say the increase in sightings comes with increased numbers of sharks off the Southern California coast due to improvements in the local fishery.   The good news is that after decades of efforts, the Southern California fishery has improved, reflecting a general improvement in many, though not all, portions of the local ocean environment.   The bad news is that means surfers need to become even more aware of their surroundings while taking advantage of California’s many great surf spots.  And, from time to time, we are going to see beach closures like other sharky areas of the world.

In the evening on Saturday, April 29, 2017, a woman was bitten by a shark while swimming with fins in the shallows of Church, that classic surfing area at the mouth of San Onofre Creek in the San Onofre State Beach, at the northern edge of San Diego County.  You can read more details in this Orange County Register article.   This article references remarks by Dr. Christopher Lowe, a shark researcher at California State University Long Beach.  Not only has Dr. Lowe been quick to remark in the past about the improvement of Southern California fisheries, but in this article he described to the reporter how El Niño conditions a couple years ago extended the amount of time juvenile sharks have stayed in local waters to eat and grow.

Assuming Dr. Lowe is correct (and he is considered an expert for good reason), more shark sightings are likely just around the corner.  The National Weather Service prediction center of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted on April 13, 2017, that it is very likely an El Niño is going to form in Fall 2017.  As the water warms and reverses the effects of ocean currents, it will also be more likely that hammerhead sharks will show up at Southern California beaches, heading north from their usual foraging areas in warm Mexican waters.  And juvenile great white sharks will have less reason to head south to to those warmer waters after birth.  So, they will be hanging out even longer off our coast, increasing the number of shark sightings.

We are not predicting some sort of Sharknado, but we will likely hear more reports of shark sightings near our favorite surf areas.

So, tune into Trestles Shark, er Surf, Crowd.com for more info in the future.

[By the way, we can personally attest that only a small percentage of surf spot shark sightings are reported through the media.  Most surfers would say that sharks are just part of the ocean environment.  We enter their world every time we paddle out to catch a few.  So, why both reporting a natural occurrence.  Welcome to the Crowd Ms./Mr. Shark!]

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Great White Sharks at Trestles — Again

6 08 2015

Today’s surf session was mostly forgettable, except . . .

About 9:00 am, we were all looking outside for that infrequent set wave when several of us got a good, fairly closeup view of this:

Yep, an  8′ great white shark breaching about 25 yards outside the lineup.  The author was lucky enough to be the person closest to the event.  It appeared to be jumping for one of those large warm water fish that have been hanging out on the Southern California coast for the last year or so.

This photo was clipped from a travel site.  Nobody got a photo of our shark.  But, we got pretty much the same view as this photo, except the shark was completely out of the water,  with its spine perfectly vertical.  It was definitely a shark, not a dolphin.

According to some articles, sharks breach, completely jumping out of the water, to surprise their prey with a speedy ascent from the bottom.  We were all just glad we weren’t the prey in this case.

Our first reaction was “Was that what I think it was?” followed by “Yeah, let’s get out of here quick!”  As it turned out, one of the bigger sets of the morning was just rolling through.  So, several of us seemed to reach the beach simultaneously.  We all looked at each other quizzically and decided it was definitely not time to go in.  After all, we are always surrounded by sharks of some variety.  We just got to see this one up close and personal.

This one may, or may not, have been the same 8′ shark that got hooked and released at San Clemente Pier a few weekends ago.  And, the media have been filled with So Cal sharks stories over the last year.  Trestles was even closed a couple months ago when the lifeguards thought the shark(s) were potentially aggressive.  Still, nothing more than a nose bump for a couple surfers.  The experts say these juveniles are more afraid of us than we are of them.  Some of us are just wondering what we will think when they are no longer juveniles and take us for sea lions.

Sweet dreams tonight.  Supposedly more swell on the way tomorrow.  You might want to wear less black wetsuit and stop imitating seals.