Paddleboarder, dog safe after shark encounter off Pacific Grove beach; 2nd attack this summer

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Thursday, August 11, 2022
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A paddleboarder and a dog are both safe after an encounter with a shark off Pacific Grove Beach, California.

PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. (KGO) -- A paddleboarder and a dog are safe after encountering a shark at a Pacific Grove beach in Monterey County.

For Lovers Point Beach-goers, Wednesday morning's weather conditions offered the perfect opportunity to get outdoors.

Kensington Sampson Edwards, 10, was there with her family. She was getting ready to enter the water when she noticed kayakers and paddleboarders rushing to shore. Kensington immediately learned there had been a shark attack.

A man and his German Shepherd were able to walk away unscathed.

RELATED: Video shows paddleboarders rescue swimmer seriously injured in shark attack at Lovers Point Beach

"When the guy came to shore, he told us what happened," Kensington told ABC7 News. "And he said that the shark was about as long as his SUP-YAK."

SUP-YAKs or paddleboards are typically 10 to 11-feet-long. The shark that attacked it left behind clear bite marks that Kensington's mother was able to capture on camera.

"There's only one shark in this area that could have done that, and that's a white shark," San Jose State University, Pacific Shark Research Center Director David Ebert said.

He estimates the shark could be two or three years old.

"When they get around that 10-foot, then they're starting to look at marine mammals," Ebert explained. "And things like paddleboards and surfboards and stuff, they'll start investigating more. Because their diet's shifting to larger prey."

RELATED: Monterey Co. shark attack survivor describes chilling encounter

According to Ebert, the shark left behind multiple bite marks, instead of a mangled paddleboard because it was only exploring. He said the shark was likely adjusting its bite in the process.

Pacific Grove Police say the paddle boarder and his dog were about 150 yards off the pier.

"I watched them go out. I was like, 'Oh, that's so neat. You know, he's taking his dog out,'" Kensington's mother, Sandra Edwards said. "Neither of them- he didn't have like a life vest on or anything like that. So it could have gone bad."

Concern swelling as Wednesday's encounter marks the second shark attack reported in that same area this summer. In June, a shark bit a swimmer in the stomach and leg. He suffered severe injuries.

On Wednesday, authorities closed the beach until Saturday to investigate.

Kensington couldn't help but wonder, "what if," considering she was heading out on her own board.

RELATED: Swimmer injured in shark attack at Lovers Point Beach expected to make full recovery, doctors say

"Mine was air and his was foam," she said. "So the shark probably would have gotten me if it happened to me."

Expert Ebert assured shark attacks are unusual and rare. He said on average, California has seen three to four attacks a year since the 1950s. To put that into perspective, he points to the state's population growth.

"There's obviously a lot more people in the water," he said. "We're doing different activities- paddle boarding is a relatively new activity, and the number of attacks has not gone up that much."

Ebert said there are dozens of white sharks in the bay right now, adding July and August are months when larger white sharks begin to show up.

He said, during recent helicopter surveys over by the cement boat at Seacliff Beach in Santa Cruz County, he's counted 40 white sharks just along about a two to three-mile stretch of beach.

"You go into the woods, you might see a bear or a mountain lion. You go in the ocean, you might see a shark," he said. "But it is a rare event."

Police said the paddleboard will be tested to determine the shark species.

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