News

Shark knocks Santa Cruz kayaker into ocean

Shark knocks Santa Cruz kayaker into...

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - UPDATE 07/11/17: Tuesday morning, the water at steamer lane looks calm and so did Steve Lawson.

“Yea, today is like every other day," Lawson said.

But this time his kayaking trip was a bit different.

"I was paddling along the buoy SC 7 and Seal Rock, and it felt like I hit a rock. I looked forward and there was a shark holding the front of my boat. He let go and I went over," Lawson said.

Lawson said luckily the shark darted off right away and people from a nearby fishing boat called Harbor Patrol.

Moments later he was rescued out of the water.

A seasoned kayaker, Lawson said this has never happened before and probably won't happen to most.

"I just happened to be, you know, look like food. But he decided after he took a bite out of the boat that I wasn't food," Lawson said.

So that no one else gets mistaken for food, Santa Cruz is suspending water activities on Steamer Lane between the river mouth and Fairview Avenue until Saturday morning.

Those who don't comply will be cited and fined.

"It's a cooling off period for the animal. What it does is it allows marine safety personnel, life guards to continue to monitor to see if this was an isolated incident or there's actually active feeding going on," said Jim Frawley, Santa Cruz Fire Department chief.

For Lawson, he plans to head out again on Wednesday --- in a different boat and a different spot, but same level of confidence that he'll be safe.

"I will just head down towards pleasure point and paddle back from there," Lawson said.

PREVIOUS STORY: According to Santa Cruz County Communications, a shark knocked a kayaker into the ocean in Santa Cruz Tuesday morning.

The incident took place around 11:00 a.m. in the water near West Cliff Drive and Pelton Avenue.

Fire Department Marine Safety personnel confirmed that Steve Lawson, a seasoned kayaker had his kayak attacked by a large shark about a quarter mile out from Steamer Lane. Lawson was uninjured in the attack, but the kayak sustained bite marks.

Water activities will be restricted in the area for four days. The city will post warning signs at Main Beach, Cowell Beach and other beach access points within 1-mile radius of the attack location.

All water activities are banned until Saturday, July 15. Santa Cruz Junior Guard activities will be modified for the week.

Santa Cruz Fire Chief Jim Frawley said, "attacks like these are extremely rare in Santa Cruz County, and we are so thankful that the kayaker was uninjured. This is a reminder that swimming in the ocean does carry some risk and we encourage all swimmers, surfers, and kayakers to be mindful of their surroundings and follow directions of lifeguards and Marine Safety staff."

KION's Linda Zhang spoke with the kayaker and  will have the full story at 5 p.m.


comments powered by Disqus