On January 25th, 2018, the Shark Research Committee released a report stating that there were 9 unprovoked shark attacks last year on the USA Pacific Coast. Of the 9 incidents, all are though to have involved great whites. If you use a personal shark deterrent and the deterrent states that it doesn’t work on great white sharks you are wasting your money if you live on the West Coast, but that’s another story. Of the 9 attacks none were fatal, 4 were on kayakers, and there has been a steady increase from 2015 to present.
Currently, we have more people in the water than ever, and concurrently we have a larger shark population that has now begun to spread out along the Pacific Coast in search of less competitive food supply territories. It’s actually surprising that there haven’t been more shark incidents, which serves to show you that great whites are on the hunt for seals and other animals that are part of their normal diet, which humans are not on that menu. Sharks are territorial, so in all likelihood the sharks are trying to tell kayakers, and others to, “Go home Kook!”
In a bizarre incident that occurred in July 2017, a great white shark came up beside a surfer who was kneeling on his surfboard, and the shark subsequently bumped the surfer off his surfboard 6-feet into the air. The shark submerged, the surfer scrambled back onto his board and to shore, and that was the end of that incident. No one ever got the surfers name, and he never talked to the media. So while most shark attacks are probably cases of mistaken identity, or territorial, they are still emotionally terrifying to us all. No one wants to have an animal twice our size with rows of razor sharp teeth looking at us with hungry eyes. The best thing to do is to enjoy water sports smarter, with better equipment.