Kayakers More At Risk As Pacific Coast Shark Attacks Rise

Kayakers More At Risk As Pacific Coast Shark Attacks Rise

January 27, 2018 0 Comments

Kayakers More At Risk As Pacific Coast Shark Attacks Rise


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.


Great White Shark Incidents By Month - 2017



Great White Shark Incidents By State – 2017

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.


  1. Personal Shark Deterrents: This is an option, while expensive, can be effective, and give you some piece of mind. Remember that nothing is 100% so just because you have one of these devices doesn’t mean you should do something foolish. Also make sure, Especially, if you live on U.S. Pacific Coast that the deterrent works against great whites. The electronic ones have tests that they do, the magnets don’t.
  2. Tourniquets: A tourniquet is the best compliment to water sports equipment. Make sure the tourniquet you have is made for saltwater. Right now only one tourniquet is specifically made for saltwater. OMNA Inc., makes the Amphibious Tourniquet for maritime professionals and water sports, and they make Tourniquet Leashes for surfers, paddle boarders, and body boarders. A tourniquet is worthless if it’s not on you so this ingenious configuration as part of your surfboard leash is the best solution for water sports.
  3. Safety In Numbers: Whatever water sport you do, you should do it with others. Going out onto the water by yourself is risky, but if you are going to go by yourself choose a location that other people are at as well. This way you can have your piece and quiet, but someone is at least in shouting distance to help if needed, and vice versus.
  4. Time of Day: The time of day should also be considered. Dawn and Dusk are the more active hunting times for sharks, which means you are more likely to be confused with the seal a shark is hunting or get some territorial bumping to let you know to get out of its turf.
  5. Relax: Enjoy the water.