SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — While a warning was still urging people to stay out of the water in Santa Cruz after a shark attack earlier this week, many surfers were out trying to catch waves Thursday.
News of the attack on a kayaker Tuesday has some people afraid to hit the beach. But for many locals, it was still surf’s up.
Those who talked to KPIX 5 said the beach closure due to the attack wasn’t enough to keep them from catching some of the best waves of the summer.
“I don’t think the probability of a shark attack happening is much different a few days after an attack than it is any other day,” said surfer Bobby Missirian
Despite the warnings, Missirian and his father Ronald headed into the waves just north of the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz.
“First of all, we took a greater risk riding Highway 17 to get over here, said the elder Missirian. “I didn’t think it was an especially big risk. But I told Bobby to try and stay in the middle of the pack of about 40 surfers.”
Officially, the beaches north of the Boardwalk are closed until sunrise Saturday following the shark attack on the kayaker Tuesday morning near West Cliff and Pelton Avenue.
Marine Safety personnel confirmed the attack happened about a mile out from Steamer Lane. The kayaker was not injured, but the kayak sustained extensive damage with a bite mark from the shark’s teeth visible on the underside.
Steve Lawson later said in an interview with KSBW, the shark was a great white. He said the shark bit the front of his kayak and he was thrown in the water. He used his marine radio to call harbor patrol.
Authorities described Lawson as a ‘seasoned kayaker.’
Santa Cruz authorities said this attack stood out as something unusual.
“What was different this time was it was an actual predatory style attack,” said Santa Cruz Fire Department Capt. Britten Miles. “This wasn’t a sighting. It wasn’t a shark swimming by a surf. Its intention was to eat what it attacked.”
The fire department is urging people to stay out of the water. Their own junior lifeguard camp was beached because of the attack.
But authorities also know there is little they can do to stop surfers determined to catch a wave despite the warnings.
“We just think it’s safer to give people a little break and make sure nothing else happens before we open the water back up,” said Miles.
There have been no additional attacks or sightings since Tuesday’s incident. However, the U.S. Coast Guard is adding their voice to that of local authorities, advising everyone to heed the warning and abide by the closure until Saturday morning.