The news that a great white shark has been spotted off the coast of La Jolla Shores beach in La Jolla, Calif., has many triathletes on edge. The site of the spotting is an extremely popular open-water swimming location for the area’s local triathlon community.
According to published reports, the shark was spotted twice on Sunday, August 15: once in the morning by a kayaker, and then by a lifeguard in the early evening. The next day lifeguards patrolling the area warned swimmers and surfers about the previous day’s sightings.
While shark attacks are considered fairly rare in the Southern California area, the San Diego triathlon community has grown especially weary of the marine creatures since an area triathlete was attacked and killed by a shark in April 2008. Sixty-six-year-old Dave Martin was swimming with several other triathletes when he was attacked at Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach, Calif., just 10 miles north of La Jolla. The attack was recently featured on Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” on the show Sharkbite Beach.
Sharks have been seen up and down the Southern California coast over the past few weeks. On August 10, stand up paddle boarder Chuck Patterson caught photos and video of a great white shark near San Onofre, Calif.
He posted the video and commented on the encounter on his blog: “I have always wanted to take a photo of these sharks that swim along side us, but every time I took my water camera with me, I would never see one. Then finally, after SUP surfing with a couple good friends one afternoon where we had a 7′-8′ shark circle us off and on for a half hour, I was determined to get a photo the next day. I rigged up an extension pole with one of the new GoPro HD HERO water proof cameras and paddled out on my 12’6 Hobie SUP race board to the same spot we saw the shark the day before and within 5 minutes there he was.”
The recent sightings have received a lot of attention in the media. Local sports radio personality Scott Kaplan is in training for the Ironman World Championship, set to take place in Kona, Hawaii, on October 9, and the shark sightings have become a hot topic on his radio show. Kaplan and his team are putting together a fundraiser in which he, and a group of local celebrities, will swim in La Jolla Cove next week. Check back to Triathlete.com in the coming days for more on the fundraiser.