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Shark Attack at Davenport
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higgybaby



Joined: 25 May 2004
Posts: 149

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:28 pm    Post subject: Shark Attack at Davenport Reply with quote

I heard third hand that there was a shark attack on a windsurfer at Davenport Landing a few days ago? Anyone have any details?
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kevinkan



Joined: 07 Jun 2001
Posts: 1132
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to clarify.... I was not involved in this incident... I am merely relaying the story the sailor wrote for the Shark Research Committee!

The sailor submitted this story to the Shark Research Committee:

I had had a great 60 - 90 minute windsurfing session and was heading in for my last tack back to the beach since the wind was steadily getting weaker. I was sailing pretty slowly (not planing) as I was heading upwind. I noticed sea birds diving near the beach and remembered that could be a sign of schools of fish under the surface, but I'd seen that before so I wasn't too concerned. A couple of minutes later there was a tremendous jolt under my board which threw me into the air. At first I thought I'd hit some kelp but realized quickly that I hadn't been going fast enough to have that kind of impact. I landed in the water, between my board and the sail, which had fallen downwind of the board. I simultaneously felt something brush against my right toe and saw a grayish tan fin, which my hand touched. This was when I realized I was in a very bad situation. I flailed for a few seconds, trying to scramble onto my board. Eventually I made it onto it and lay like a cat trying to get out of water for a few seconds and looked to the right to find that the impact had broken the mast about 18" up from the base, rendering the sail useless. This was the moment I felt that I might panic because I started thinking about what it was going to be like when the shark came back for me. I focused on how to get out of the situation as quickly as possible. Knowing that the rig would make paddling impossible, I struggled for a few more seconds, trying to detach it and finally got it loose. I briefly tried to pull out the broken mast to use as a weapon but realized that was taking too long so I said "goodbye" to the rig and lay on my belly and started the long paddle back to shore.

My perception of time was probably really skewed at this point, but I estimate that this was about 5 minutes after the attack. The universal joint (a 4" piece of plastic and metal that attaches the mast to the board) was hitting my throat as I paddled so I stopped and detached it. Before chucking it I held it in my hand and decided that with the metal bolt on the bottom it might be useful as a weapon (absurd to think of it now, but I thought I might have a chance to hit the shark’s nose with it). I tried to shove the universal in my harness but I didn't want to waste any paddling time so I just bit down on it and kept paddling as steadily as I could, aiming for the break zone in the lower reef. At this point there was a surfer in the break and one last windsurfer downwind. I stopped a couple of times, sat up and shouted warnings at them as loud as I could but they didn't seem to hear. After a few more minutes of paddling, I got close enough to the surfer to gesture and shout for him to head to shore, which he eventually did. Just as I was getting to the break, the last windsurfer, Ed, reached me and said he was keeping an eye on me. I managed to catch a wave on my belly, keeping a vice grip on the board, and rode the wave straight to shore, only stopping once I was in 4" of water. Once on the beach, I noticed that my toe was bleeding enough to pool up on the rocks. I don't know if I'd already cut it on the reef before the attack (and maybe the blood had attracted the shark) or if the shark's tail had sliced it when it brushed by.

I am grateful that the shark never came back for me. I'm grateful for Ed, the windsurfer who responded to my shouts, because I think knowing he was there gave me confidence to paddle for the wave and surf it in. I'm grateful for a lot of things right now.

Possible lessons (from a windsurfing perspective):
* Late in the evening, if the wind is dying, just walk the gear up from the lower reef. Don't head out to sail upwind back to the beach.
* Pay attention to the marine life. Lots of diving sea birds is an indication of a lot of fish in that area, which can attract larger predators (or maybe that the fish are fleeing them).
* Make it your one focus in life to get back to shore in the fastest way possible. When I started thinking about how bad the situation was, and what was going to happen when the shark came back for me, I think I was on the edge of panic. Making it a job to get out of the situation brought me back from that edge.
* Stay with your board. If you're a windsurfer, learn to surf, too. Knowing how to paddle and how to catch a wave were essential.
* Learn to tack so you don't have to go out so far to head upwind. I'm working on that.

_________________
Kevin Kan
Sunset Sailboards, San Francisco CA
http://www.sunsetsailboards.com
http://www.sunsetsailboards.com/blog
http://www.facebook.com/sunsetsailboards
Live Onsite Reports via Twitter


Last edited by kevinkan on Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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rowan



Joined: 15 May 1998
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:52 pm    Post subject: Mr. Sharky Reply with quote

Hairball Kev!
Stoked you made it back to shore in one piece.
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hemmy007



Joined: 10 May 2002
Posts: 97

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Shark Attack at Davenport Reply with quote

higgybaby wrote:
I heard third hand that there was a shark attack on a windsurfer at Davenport Landing a few days ago? Anyone have any details?



Heard what Kevin Posted.
Wow!

Shark-tober is scary in an out of the water. Wink
Stock market crashes on the street
and the warden in the water make October scary,
not just for Halloween anymore.

Interesting that the south reef is the only place in the world
where a WS has been attacked while slogging
and it has happened twice there in the last 15 years,
with the last one happening when I was out in the water,
in 1998 if I remember correctly.

Scary watching that,
but we see them in the water all year round.
Eric Larson can tell you that from his south reef fun in 1994.

Great job Ed M. looking out for this guy,
would expect nothing less, he is a man among men where we surf.
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LeeD



Joined: 12 Jun 2008
Posts: 970

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You DO know that DavenportLanding, just 2 miles S of SwantonRoad, where they now windsurf, is considered the most sharky spot N of SantaCruz, don't you? That's the right reef surfing break just N of the old firehouse, wooden stairs leading almost down to the water. Second most sightings is 3 mile, with almost NO sightings at 4 mile, and 3rd scariest is the cattlegate N of Ano off One.
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matterhorn



Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I noticed an unsual amount of wildlife on saturday morning sup surfing- and on sunday evening wavesailing the landing. Not that it is unusal to see dolphins, otters, pelicans, seals, and schools of little fish, but the amount of it was significant I think. I guess the food chain is just pretty dense there and sharky is know to join in at this time of the year.
Also I noticed on three occasions proficient sailors beeing thrown forward at slogging speed, on Sunday. I thought they were getting caught on some kelp, but now this has me thinking twice... Not to go too crazy about this, but I also would be interested if it really was some kelp I thought I bumped into at some point.? Maybe time to invent the glass bottom sailboard? Smile

Anyways, I guess the spot has earned it's name "shark bite right" for a reason, and is likey not to be renamed antime soon.All we can do is roll the dice, hope for the best and keep enjoying this incredible spot.

philippe
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ericwelty



Joined: 03 Jun 2006
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of you know about my experience at Waddell two years ago. It was November and very light wind with good surf . After unable to waterstart for awhile outside the surf break , I was hit in the ass by something big. I was knocked out of the water by the force. I lived to tell the story .

Ask me about it sometime, and I will tell you why I come in when it is difficult to waterstart .

Eric

PS I have had numerous experiences with wildlife at Waddell.
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tomg



Joined: 10 Apr 2000
Posts: 189

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin:

A twist on the old saying: any shark attack you can swim away from is a good one....So glad you made it back safely.

And not doubting your story one bit but I am curious about the following:

Did you land on your rig? If not how do you figure the mast broke? Did the tail of the shark hit your rig?

Did you find any scratches or dent in your board? - Wondering what part of the shark impacted you. (obviously not the mouth!)

BTW A friend who has lived out in Half Moon Bay for decades and does a lot of beach hikes tells me that it is almost routine to see Great Whites in the coves immediately north of Wadell. It is assumed that it is the concentration of marine mammals in that area that draws the GWS.


Tomg
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l_loperena8002



Joined: 04 Jan 2009
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin was not the one who was attacked, he just posted the report.
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loopy



Joined: 21 May 2004
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:10 pm    Post subject: yup, it's sharky Reply with quote

i've personally seen 2 instances, and another time when another sailor saw
one behind me after my outside jibe. the 2 that i saw were pretty close to shore. most recent was mid-july this year, just outside the lineup. how big do you think is the shark if its fine is knee high? this was at the lower reef. the other one was inside the lineup at the upper reef, a couple of years ago.
forgot what time of year that was.

i think i'm going to paint something like this to the bottom of my board. it may just work...
http://www.surfline.com/giftguide/productguide.cfm?product=5
(i hope).
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