Shark Attack in Santa Barbara on Monday, August 2, 2010

Shark Attack in Santa Barbara on Monday, August 2, 2010

From the Shark Research Committee:

Gaviota State Beach * —   On August 2, 2010 Duane Strosaker was kayaking off Gaviota State Beach, Santa Barbara County. It was 12:40 PM and he had been on the water for 5 hours and 40 minutes. The sea was calm and the sky overcast and foggy with air and water temperatures estimated at 65 and 62 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. His sea kayak is 17.5 feet in length, 21 inches wide, red in color and made of fiberglass and plywood. He used a Greenland-style paddle with long narrow blades. Water depth at this location is 100 fathoms. There were about a dozen sea lions at the mooring buoy for oil rig Hondo, which was his last stop before heading back to the mainland. Strosaker reported:

“I left oil rig Hondo in my sea kayak at about noon to begin the 7 nautical mile crossing at a heading of 300 degrees to get back to Gaviota State Beach. My paddle speed was about 4 knots. Without warning at about 12:40 PM, when I was around 5 nautical miles from Gaviota State Beach, a Great White Shark, which I estimated to be at least 15 feet long, bit and held onto my kayak.

It attacked from my left side, with its head coming up from the water only a few feet from my kayak. It bit my kayak where my left foot was located inside the hull, and its mouth wrapped half way around the hull. There was not a hard impact. The shark held onto my kayak for 10–15 seconds, during which it seemed relaxed and was not moving. Its head was huge. I put the left tip of my paddle against the shark’s head, and I thought about hitting the shark, but I didn’t want to anger it or make it thrash. After the longest 10–15 seconds in my life, the shark gently let go of the kayak and slid back into the water. I wasn’t knocked off balance and did not have to brace. A few seconds later and about 15–20 feet in front of my kayak, I saw the tail fin of the shark break the surface and powerfully whip around, like the shark was coming back at me for a second strike, but it never happened. After waiting a few seconds I started paddling again. Frequently, I checked behind me to see if the shark was following, but I never saw it again. My kayak had teeth marks and punctures on the top and bottom, and water was leaking into it.”

This is the third unprovoked shark attack reported from the Pacific Coast this year. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.