March 15, 2018
SHARK SEASON IS BACK ON THE WEST COAST; SHOULD PADDLERS BE AFRAID?
I’ve spent the better part of two decades surfing and paddling in the breeding grounds of great white sharks.
Growing up outside the San Francisco Bay Area I cut my teeth at spots like Montara, Año Nuevo and Ocean Beach, all breaks well within the “Red Triangle,” the West Coast’s infamous white shark haven. 18 years spent stroking through shark city, and for the first 15 I’d never seen one in person.
In the spring of 2015, I was paddle surfing with a group of buddies at Trail 4 in San Clemente. It was a warm, clear morning with light wind, glassy water and great visibility despite a modest swell. The kind of easy morning that leaves a SoCal surfer floating through the day on a cloud.
After we had our fill of waves on a lonely sand bar, it was time to catch a wave in and head to work. Dave and I were the last guys out, waiting on an incoming set for our rides in when I spotted a fin. It was in the surf zone maybe 50 feet from where we stood.
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