Shark prompts restrictions at Stinson Beach

August 26, 2008 12:57:55 AM PDT
A Sunday evening shark sighting at Stinson Beach has prompted the National Park Service to restrict water access at the beach through Friday.

A popular beach in the North Bay is closed after a shark sighting over the weekend. A surfer reported spotting the shark about 100 yards offshore of Stinson Beach on Sunday.

Lifeguards at Stinson Beach are on high alert after Sunday's sighting of a great white shark.

"This went straight out of the air and it was also about eight to 10 feet long," says James Matthews, a witness.

Matthews, a former lifeguard, spotted the shark while surfing. He says the great white was about 125 yards offshore.

"The way it came out of the water it was obviously chasing something. Nothing else is going to have a tailfin like that, a porpoise or a dolphin," says Matthews.

Park officials have since closed Stinson Beach to swimmers and surfers. They are, however, allowing people in shallow water.

"We've seen the warnings before so it didn't freak us out, it just made us wary of going in past our ankles or our knees," says Jeff Kositsky, a beach visitor.

The last shark sighting at Stinson was May of 2007. Experts say great whites arrive on the North Coast this time of year to feed on seals and sea lions. Jonathan Kathrein survived a shark attack 10 years ago at Stinson Beach and still surfs to this day, but with caution.

"I try not to go too far out beyond the other surfers in case something were to happen. If I see a seal, I'm a little bit more cautious and may get out of the water, so this is definitely a time to be careful," says Kathrein.

The water restrictions will be lifted on Friday. By that time, park officials believe the shark will be well out of the area.


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