A group of paddle boarders were enjoying a sunny California afternoon, when local authorities rushed into the area to warn of the grave danger.
Unbeknownst to the people in the water, a large group of sharks had appeared beneath them, and seemed to be EVERYWHERE.
“You are paddle boarding next to approximately 15 great white sharks,” Deputy Brian Stockbridge announced over his helicopter’s loudspeaker. “They are advising you exit the water in a calm manner. The sharks are as close as the surf line.”
Fortunately, nobody got hurt that day. For many people, the siting of a shark is enough to swear off of the beach forever, but these aren’t rare occurrences.
“We haven’t had any reports of anyone being bumped or charged, just observations of them either swimming or breaching,” Orange County Lifeguard Chief Jason Young told local reporters. “The report we got from the sheriff’s was very similar to the reports we’ve had before with the juveniles in the area at Beach Road.”
Researchers say that shark interactions are becoming more common due to warmer water. The El-Nino like weather is also altering shark migrations in the Pacific, forcing them to go further south, and closer to the coast.
Chris Lowe, professor in the Department of Biological Studies and at the CSULB Shark Lab at California State University Long Beach, says that the increase in shark-human interaction could also be attributed to “More people using the ocean now for recreation than ever before.”
“You put more people in the water and add more sharks to coastal areas, you will have more shark-human related interactions.”
While shark attacks get a lot of air time (thanks a lot, JAWS) Lowe maintains that the odds of one happening to you are incredibly low.
“The numbers of these incidents are so low that they really should pose little concern to beachgoers and water enthusiasts. Think about it: You have a so much greater likelihood of being killed in a fatal car accident driving to the beach than you ever would from encountering a shark while in the water.”
This may be true, but people should still be cautious of sharks being in the water. While these paddle boarders got away, beachgoers should pay attention to warnings that many beaches post.
I imagine these paddle boarders won’t need to watch “Shark Week” this year, having lived it out themselves!