The Orange County Register
By FRED SWEGLES
The vibe in the water at San Onofre is returning to normal, after a sequence of reported shark encounters last weekend stirred up some surfers.
While word continues to circulate around the Internet, people continue to ride waves along the 51/2-mile length of San Onofre State Beach, and an annual pro surf contest goes on as it always has.
"Sharks are out there every day," reasons Terry Murphy, lifeguard supervisor. "They can travel many, many miles every day. They could be in Dana Point – actually, maybe in Huntington Beach by now. That's their backyard. We are basically the visitor."
In one report, a Great White said to be 6 to 8 feet long "breached completely out of the water" near some surfers at San Onofre's surf break known as Dogpatch. Lifeguards used bullhorns to encourage caution.
In another report, later that morning, a surfer at Dogpatch bumped what he thought to be a shark. In a third report, a mile south of there at Trail 6, maybe an hour later, a surfer ignored a lifeguard's warnings, soon found himself the only surfer in the lineup and spotted a large dorsal fin.
These reports surfaced at www.surfline.com and at www.sharkresearchcommittee.com .
The surfer in the bumping incident, identified as Drew Senner, is quoted as saying "it didn't seen aggressive, more like it was bumping against me to check me out, or perhaps we just crossed paths."
The surfer at Trail 6 gave a more chilling account, estimating the shark to be 10 to 12 feet long and saying it was headed in his general direction, the last he saw of it.
"When I got to the beach," Ryan Warrick is quoted as saying, "all the other surfers were lining the beach telling me how crazy I was for staying out. AI asked them to fill me in on the rest of what the lifeguard was saying, and apparently a 10-foot Great White Shark had been sighted a mile up the beach to the north, where it possibly bumped a surfer.
"They also told me that for some reason, right before I paddled in, that the dolphins started circling around me in that specific spot. That really freaked me, because I've heard of dolphins chasing sharks away from people before."
Murphy says lifeguards spoke with the witnesses at Dogpatch and were convinced the reports were credible. He hadn't heard of the Trail 6 sighting.
"We usually put up a little advisory for a few days that there have been shark sightings in the area," Murphy says, adding that he knows of no subsequent reports this week.