El Porto’s Juvenile White Shark

10 11 2013

In the last month and a half there have been 20 or 30 sightings of a juvenile white shark in the range of 6 to 8 feet long. The thought is that there might actually be two of them feeding in the surf line at El Porto. Even a few months back there was a story on one being caught off the Manhattan Beach Pier. They released it because it’s illegal to fish for shark in California. With all of that, El Porto is one of our regular surf spots and no one has been attacked, yet.

I do watch Shark Week when I can because it’s nice to know the behaviors of something I never see. So that hopefully one day if I do run across one I will know how I should be around it. Divers dive with sharks all the time and even at times are not in protective cages. I’m guessing that’s because the kind they are diving with are eating other things in the ocean and not the little men in rubber. However, I also know that when a Great White attacks someone off the coast of California, they usually only have a bite taken out of them and so we must not taste very good to them. I’ve heard that somewhere, but really, none of us is a shark, so how can we really know?

The swell forecast called for nil to nothing in the way of waves, but west facing beaches were supposed to be the best. Even though the shark sightings have been frequent the last two months, the LA County Lifeguards haven’t closed the beach because no one has been attacked. We picked El Porto because we like it, there was going to be some sign of waves in the water, and it’s close by for most of us. Even in my e-mails I mentioned that it was shark infested, but the conventional wisdom was to surf El Porto. Admittedly, somewhere inside I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the little White Shark swimming around and since we usually dawn patrol I thought it totally plausible that we would. I mostly wanted to see it before it saw me, but really, the ocean is it’s domain, not mine no matter how much I love it.

Sure enough, Spock, Baby Gorilla, and the Sailor met me at Porto at 6 am and we surfed it.


The crazy part is that little 6 to 8 foot juvenile white shark showed itself. It was way closer than the GoPro’s depict because “objects in view are larger than they appear.” Within about 25 to 30 feet. It was headed straight for Spock and he noticed it first. I don’t think it picked him as his next meal, but seriously, when you see a dorsal fin that isn’t acting like the typical dolphin you’ve seen coming toward you, there’s a bit of nervous excitement, I’m sure. I had it and I caught the side view of it trimming through the water. It was between Baby Gorilla and myself, and the beach.

It really was a cool sight, too. The nervousness because it’s a shark. The excitement because it’s a shark and I got to see it in person, and hopefully caught it on video. The waves weren’t that great and I seemed to mostly catch closeouts, but it was still an awesome day.

Baby Gorilla had to leave early so the breakfast was just Spock, the Sailor, and myself at Wendy’s. It was a great time to reflect on something in God’s creation that we got to witness.

I hope you enjoyed the videos. Until next time, take care and God bless.

Surfer Yoda




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