California’s Fatal Morro Bay shark attack leaves surfers wary
Morro Bay Shark Attack
An apparent great white shark killed a boogie-board in Morro Bay on Christmas Eve 2021. Here’s what we know:
News of a deadly shark attack in Morro Bay left the Central Coast surfing community in shock – and though it kept many people out of the water over the holiday weekend , the tragedy is unlikely to deter most from returning to the sport they love. .
On Christmas Eve, a shark believed to be a great white killed a boogie-boarder in an area known as “the pit” north of Morro Rock.
The body was found around 10:40 a.m. on Friday by another surfer, according to Morro Bay Harbor Manager Eric Endersby. The identity of the boogie-boarder has not yet been revealed.
Word of the death quickly spread throughout the surfing community, and on a generally busy holiday weekend the waves off Morro Bay were mostly empty of people.
Mike Jones, owner of the Azhiaziam International surf shop in Morro Bay, said he visited Morro Rock earlier on Sunday morning, where he saw numerous bathers standing on the shore and talking about the fatal encounter.
âEveryone’s in a bit of shock,â Jones said.
âEveryone is watching the waves and no one is really paddling. Everyone stumbles over what just happened, âJones said.
Bill Bookout, owner of Pismo Beach Surf Shop and Avila Beach Surf Shop, said he always does the same number of rentals, but the shark attack is all everyone is talking about.
Bookout said there were plenty of swimmers in the water in South County, but the surfing community was still wary of Morro Bay after the shark attack.
Recent rainstorms that dumped dirt and debris into the ocean and created poor visibility in the water are not helping matters.
âThere was a guy over there who was surfing this morning,â Jones said. “I was like, man, I don’t know, it just rained again last night.”
Shark warning signs on Morro Bay beach
To access Morro Bay beach, Jones and other visitors had to pass a sign warning people to enter the water at their own risk.
Eric Endersby, manager of Morro Bay Harbor, told The Tribune on Saturday that the shark warnings would remain in place until Monday.
Endersby told The Tribune on Saturday that the shark that killed the boogie-boarder was most likely a great white.
After Friday’s deadly attack, Morro Bay Harbor Patrol closed the beach while they searched for the shark. The water near Morro Rock reopened on Saturday.
Jones said surfers were mostly still reluctant to head into the ocean near Morro Rock on Sunday morning.
The Surfline Camera at Morro Bay Harbor showed a few surfers standing on the beach around 11 a.m. Sunday, but no one was seen in the water.
Instead, Jones said, the surfers were talking.
âEveryone was standing there baffled trying to figure out what had happened,â Jones said.
Muddy ocean waters leave surfers wary
Jones said the ocean water was muddy on Sunday after thunderstorms released rocks and debris. He said the water was particularly cloudy on Christmas Eve morning when the deadly shark attack occurred.
He said one of the main safety tips for boarders is to avoid entering the water after thunderstorms, when the water tends to be cloudier, making it more difficult for sharks to to see people and for people to see sharks.
Another way to stay safe is to go out into the ocean with at least one other person or in greater numbers when the beach is busy.
âI’m not going to paddle to a beach when there’s no one else there,â Jones said.
He said surfing when the beach is busy and busy also means you have more people who can help you with a shark bite. He told The Tribune about a friend of his who was bitten in the leg by a shark, but a doctor managed to create a tourniquet and save his leg.
A few weeks later, Jones’ boyfriend was back in the water.
Jones also said he had heard countless stories of people hitting sharks in the eyes or nose, the shark freeing the surfer or boogie-boarder, and the boarder being able to escape safely.
Although non-fatal shark encounters do occur, lethal shark attacks are extremely rare.
In California, there have only been 18 cases of people who have died from a shark attack since the 1800s, according to The Tribune report.
The last fatal shark attack in San Luis Obispo County occurred at Avila Beach in 2003 when Debbie Franzman, 50, was swimming with sea lions near Avila Pier. The shark tore off part of his leg and severed his femoral artery, Tribune files show.
Franzman was one of Bookout’s clients at the Pismo Beach Surf Club and despite that 2003 loss that struck close to his home and the shark attack this weekend, he has no hesitation in getting back to it. ‘water.
âIt’s not something you want to worry about,â he said. “You are safer in the water as you drive on the freeway any day of the week.”
This story was originally published December 27, 2021 5:00 a.m.