Are There Sharks in Los Angeles: A Surfer's Guide

Are There Sharks in Los Angeles: A Surfer’s Guide

California is home to Los Angeles, a beautiful part of the country that is filled with sun, sand, and surf. Surfing is a popular sport in California, especially in Los Angeles, as there are plenty of beaches packed with surfers all year round. The warm weather and high waves make Los Angeles the perfect surfing destination, but what about sharks? 

Sharks pose quite a significant threat to surfers. There have been a lot of shark attacks reported from surfers around the world, so it is important to be aware of your surroundings wherever you choose to surf. If you are in Los Angeles and are looking to surf, there are a few things you should be aware of before surfing. 

Are There Sharks in Los Angeles A Surfer's Guide

Here we have a guide for surfers who are looking to surf in Los Angeles and how aware you need to be of sharks in the Californian waters. 

Are Sharks Common in Los Angeles? 

Sharks are not as common in the Los Angeles area, but they are common in California. Over the years, there have been several shark sightings in the Los Angeles area as most recently, there was a sighting of great white shark activity in Malibu in 2021. It is important to remain vigilant in the California waters when you are surfing in case of rare shark sightings. 

Where are Sharks Spotted in California? 

Shark sightings throughout California are common and there are even beaches that have been listed as being home to sharks. Sharks are commonly found in the regions of Bodega Bay, Monterey Bay, and the Farallon Islands, and the three are commonly known as “the red triangle”. 

The Farallon Islands, Marin County, and San Mateo County are listed as dangerous areas and should be avoided. It isn’t advised to enter the water around these areas as shark activity is higher in these areas compared to other areas of California. 

What Beaches Have Sharks?

Here are some beaches in California that are listed as unsuitable for surfing or swimming due to high shark activity. 

  • North Salmon Creek Beach
  • Huntington Dog Beach
  • Marina State Beach
  • Samoa Dunes Recreation Area
  • Mavericks Beach 
  • San Onofre State Beach

These beaches are suitable to visit, but shark activity is high. Huntington Dog Beach is located in the Los Angeles area, so it is advised to be extra careful in this area. 

Is it Safe to Surf in California? 

It is usually safe to surf in California as the beaches that have high shark activity are clearly labeled and you are made aware that there are sharks in that area.

Are There Sharks in Los Angeles A Surfer's Guide (1)

It is always advised to be aware of your surroundings when you are in the California waters as although most beaches have low shark activity, you always need to be careful. 

There are around 300 sharks in the California region so it is always advised that you are always vigilant when it comes to spotting sharks. 

What if I See a Shark?

If you are in the water and you spot a shark, exit the water immediately. If you see the shark yourself, make sure that others around you are aware so they can also leave the area. You should also notify a lifeguard that you have spotted a shark so that they can begin to evacuate the water. 

If a shark is spotted in a particular area, it is a good idea to avoid going back in the water for a few days to be sure that the shark has left. If you enter the water too quickly after a shark sighting, the shark could mistake you for a seal. 

Are Shark Attacks Common in Los Angeles?

Shark attacks are uncommon throughout the whole of California as shark attacks are very rare and it isn’t often that they occur. Since 1950, 76 shark attacks that have resulted in an injury have been documented in California, which adds up to a total of 2 attacks a year. 

Juvenile white sharks are often spotted near the coast of Southern California as the water is especially warm in these areas. These sharks are still in their training years and are not as dangerous as adult great white sharks. 

It has been noted by scientists that the attacks on humans by great white sharks are unintentional as they mistake humans for seals. If there is an area where great white sharks have been seen feeding on seals, it is best to avoid going into the water in these areas as sharks will most likely mistake you for a seal.

As great whites grow into adults, they tend to move to colder waters so they can feast upon seals and other marine mammals, whereas juvenile white sharks usually feast on stingrays in warm water. However, just because shark attacks are uncommon in California does not mean that you can forget all about them. It is still important to be aware of sharks when you are in the water. 

Final Thoughts

To conclude, shark attacks are usually uncommon in the California region, especially in Los Angeles. Although there haven’t been a lot of shark attacks in the California area over the years, you shouldn’t think that shark attacks do not happen at all. You should always be aware of your surroundings in the water and make sure that you are always aware of sharks in the area. 

There are beaches in California that are deemed unsuitable for surfing and swimming as shark activity is too high, therefore, attacks are more likely to happen in these areas. If a shark is spotted in an area, it is advised that you leave the area for a few days until the shark leaves.

Finally, as most shark attacks are due to the shark mistaking humans for seals, it is advised that you remain out of areas where sharks have been spotted eating seals. This will help secure your safety in the water, but you must still always remain vigilant in Los Angeles waters for sharks in case of a shark sighting.

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