California Surfer Killed in Shark Attack Two Years After Fatal Shark Attack at Same Beach

great white sharkWell it doesn't happen very often, but when it does ... shivers! A man was killed in an apparent shark attack off the coast of Santa Barbara County, California. The incident happened at the remote Surf Beach at Vandenberg Air Force Base, though the victim is not affiliated with the base. Emergency responders answered a 911 call and administered CPR to a 38-year-old man who was surfing with friends. But tragically, they were unable to save him.

Two years ago yesterday, a 19-year-old student was killed by a great white shark at this same location. Is there something about that area that makes it especially dangerous? Or was this latest victim just unlucky?


Apparently fall is great white shark hunting season along the West Coast. Most shark attacks in California happen between July and November. During this time of the year, the waters are filled with sea lions, seals, and salmon. Santa Barbara is south of the infamous "Red Triangle" where half of all shark attacks occur. But it's not that far, either.

So what's a die-hard surfer or kayaker supposed to do in California in the fall? (Most shark attacks happen to surfers, and kayakers come in a distant second.) I wonder if the same risk-taking spirit that motivates people to get up on that board and ride those waves also makes surfers willing to risk a shark attack during the feeding season -- especially since shark attacks are still extremely rare. So I imagine it's hard to tell surfers not to take the risk. It's not yet known what kind of shark was involved in this incident.

One of the victims' friends actually witnessed the attack -- which must have been terrifying. Saddest of all, though, is knowing that police are still in the process of notifying the victim's family before releasing his name to the public. My heart goes out to the tragic surfer's family members. This is sure the kind of news they dread.

Did you know that autumn is feeding season for great white sharks along the West Coast?


Image via hermanusbackpackers/Flickr

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