Lochlan

San Francisco Surfer sees a Shark During Contest Heat

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They don't call the water where we live the red triangle for nothing. The Red Triangle is the colloquial name of a roughly triangle-shaped region off the coast of northern California, extending from Bodega Bay, north of San Francisco, out slightly beyond the Farallon Islands, and down to the Big Sur region, south of Monterey. The area has a very large population of marine mammals, such as elephant seals, harbor seals, sea otters, and sea lions, which are favored meals of great white sharks. Around thirty-eight percent of recorded great white shark attacks on humans in the United States have occurred within the Red Triangle — eleven percent of the worldwide total. The area encompasses the beaches of the heavily-populated San Francisco Bay Area, and many people enjoy surfing, windsurfing, swimming and diving in these waters. With the ever increasing numbers of people entering the water, sightings and encounters with the elusive sharks are still extremely rare.

So the Rip Curl Pro Surf Contest is in town right now and here's what happened in the first heat:

Pro surfer says he saw a shark during SF contest

The Associated Press

Posted: 11/01/2011 12:06:45 PM PDT

Updated: 11/01/2011 12:07:09 PM PDT

Surfer Dusty Payne of Hawaii walks out of the water during the first heat...

SAN FRANCISCO—A professional surfer competing in a contest Tuesday at San Francisco's Ocean Beach left the water in the middle of a heat after saying he saw a large shark.

Surfer Dusty Payne, 22, of Hawaii left the surf while competing against Jordy Smith of South Africa, saying he saw a large shark fin just outside the lineup.

"I was just sitting there, and I was waiting for a wave. I've seen dolphins before and it wasn't a dolphin," Payne said during an interview on the beach with the Rip Curl Pro Search event's camera crew right after. "It was the biggest fin I've ever seen in my life coming straight at me."

The sighting follows an attack by a 9-foot shark on a surfer Saturday at Marina State Beach in Monterey County, about 100 miles south of San Francisco.

Eric Tarantino suffered injuries to his neck and arm, but was released from the hospital Monday.

While the frigid waters off San Francisco are known to be host to white sharks, attacks are rare. The last attack, which was not fatal, occurred Nov. 2, 2005, according to the Shark Research Committee.

Despite the alleged sighting by Payne, the contest continued.

Ten-time world champion Kelly Slater, 39, won his heat, needing only one more winning heat during the San Francisco contest to capture his 11th title.

The contest in San Francisco began Tuesday, and is the first professional surfing event in the city in decades.

I grew up down south surfing my whole life but moved up here so the cold water and thought of not being able to see below me helped me stop surfing here. Shit at least down south like at Black's Beach you can see them below you and know not only where they are at but also how big they are.

Here's info on the Monterey surfer that got nipped recently:

Surfer attacked by shark at Marina beach released from hospital

9:00 PM, Oct. 31, 2011

Written by

Andy Stiny

A Monterey surfer who was attacked and bitten by a great white shark at Marina State Beach on Saturday was released from a San Jose hospital on Monday afternoon.

Eric Tarantino, 27, left San Jose Regional Medical Center in a wheelchair with bandages on his neck, right arm and both hands. The shark's bite to Tarantino's neck narrowly missed Tarantino's jugular vein and carotid artery, said hospital spokeswoman Bev Mikalonis.

"I feel really lucky and grateful right now," said Tarantino, as he got into his girlfriend's car. He thanked his friends who rescued him, the hospital staff and paramedics.

Tarantino was bitten just after 7 a.m. and airlifted to the hospital. He was surfing with his friend Brandon McKibben of Salinas when the attack occurred and McKibben helped Tarantino out of the water.

"He (McKibben) came over yesterday (Saturday) and said Eric's going to be fine," McKibben's mother Cindy, said on Sunday. Cindy McKibben said she did not know Tarantino, adding that her son "surfs quite a bit."

Saturday's attack and others, including three fatal attacks by a great white shark in Australia, have grabbed headlines and news coverage around the world.

"I've got every news media in the world here (San Jose Regional Medical Center)," said spokeswoman Mikalonis.

"It was a potentially fatal injury," she said. "But he's fine and he's in good shape and should recover fully."

A warning sign is posted at the beach entrance advising that the shark "is believed to be a great white shark." Warning signs are posted from Seaside to Moss Landing; no beaches are closed, said California State Parks lifeguard Eric Sturm.

The parks department is recommending that beachgoers stay out of the water for the next week.

The width of the shark's jaws, taken from the bite mark it left in Tarantino's surfboard, was measured at 19 inches, said Sturm.

`With our biologist (fish and game) we believe it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 14 feet (long)," he said. The shark left teeth marks on Tarantino's red surfboard.

A great white shark, estimated at 15 feet long, was photographed from a helicopter last week about a quarter-mile off Seacliff State Beach near Santa Cruz. The Monterey Bay Aquarium just released a great white it had on display for the past several weeks. That shark was much smaller than the one involved in Saturday's attack.

Sturm responded to Marina State Beach four years ago after Marina surfer Todd Endris was bitten by a great white. "These two incidents were at the exact same place," said Sturm, adding he did not know why that was.

A fatal great white shark attack occurred in the waters off the Monterey Peninsula in 1981 when a shark estimated at between 17 and 19 feet bit through the surfboard of 24 year-old Lewis Boren.

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