HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Swimmers were prohibited Friday from going into the water in Huntington Beach after a shark showed “aggressive behavior” toward a surfer, officials said.
The incident occurred about 8:45 a.m. when a surfer swimming in the waters about a mile south of the Huntington Beach Pier was “bumped” by what authorities say appeared to be a great white shark,
according to Huntington Beach spokeswoman Julie Toledo. The shark was believed to be about 7 feet in length.
A Marine Safety officer for Huntington Beach told CBS2’s Michele Gile the surfer was sitting on his board and noticed that the water around him started “boiling.”
“Right after he noticed that, he felt a sharp bump underneath his board,” the officer said. “He looked and he saw a shark that he described as being black in color, and it was swimming south after it bumped him.”
In response to the incident, authorities closed the water from Beach Boulevard to the Huntington Beach Pier. State officials also closed the waters at Huntington State Beach to Magnolia Avenue.
“The ‘bump’ meets the criteria for aggressive behavior, and with that our protocols call for a precautionary closure of the water for 1 mile in both directions,” said Toledo.
The surfer who reported the sighting was confirmed as “credible” by the city’s Marine Safety staff, who said he had a visible sighting of the shark as it swam away. The surfer reported being bumped by the shark about 30 yards offshore.
A relative of the sponsored surfer said the bump was significant enough to fracture his board. The surfer and his family declined an on-camera interview.
A view from Sky 2 showed a number of people waiting in the shallow water despite the warning and closure.
The water will remain closed until 8 a.m. Saturday. The beach itself remained open to the public.