Shark Sighting at Ocean Beach, San Francisco, CA on Friday, August 5, 2005

Ocean Beach – On August 5, 2005 Stephen Lando and his nephew were surfing Ocean Beach near Ortega. There was a dense fog with little or no wind. The surf was waist high and the sea surface glassy. The water was about 8 feet deep with a sandy bottom, a temperature in the mid-50s, and only a few feet of visibility.

Lando recounted: “My nephew and I had been surfing at Ocean Beach for about 1 hour. It was about 8:10 PM and we had maintained our same position in the water, just south of Ortega, for about 1/2 hour. There were no other surfers in the water and only a handful of fishermen north of us. The air was relatively still and the fog was very thick making the homes on the Great Highway difficult to see. We were approximately 60 to 70 yards from shore in about eight feet of water. The junky conditions had cleaned up and glassy waist high waves were coming through. My nephew had just caught a wave, which he rode into waist deep water; I was sitting on my board facing south. I looked west to check for waves; over my right shoulder I could see there was some movement in the water. I expected to see a dolphin. Instead, when I turned, I saw a medium grey colored rectangular shaped fin which came to a point and 15 to 18 inches in height. It was approximately 25 to 30 yards from my position. I immediately knew that it was a shark and not a dolphin. It was moving slowly south and rose so that I could see a portion of its grey back and then it submerged beneath the water’s surface. I looked back towards my nephew who was still in waist deep water; he had seen a large dark object moving below the water’s surface in my vicinity. I shouted at him to stay put because there was a shark in the water. I tried to spot the shark again but didn’t see anything. There were no waves coming, so I promptly paddled for shore. Once there, I looked for the shark again, but I didn’t see anything.”

Caution should be exercised when utilizing this location for your ocean water activities. Please report any shark sighting, encounter or attack to the Shark Research Committee.


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