Hit the No-Longer-Shark-Infested Water Off Newport Beach, People!

UPDATE NO. 3, OCT. 20, 2:12 P.M.: Newport Beach lifeguards have given their beaches the all clear, shark advisory signs have been removed and you are now free to go about your business in the water, officials say.


Waters Off Huntington Beach Closed to People After Shark Bumps Surfer

UPDATE NO. 2, OCT. 19, 8:42 P.M.: Since no shark had been spotted again since the original morning report, Newport Beach lifeguards lifted the beach closure at 4:30 p.m. “The Newport Beach lifeguards have replaced the closure signs in the area with advisory signs, warning that a shark has been sighted in the area,” explained Jennifer Manzella, the city fire and police spokeswoman. “The advisory will remain in effect until tomorrow morning, subject to reassessment at that time by lifeguard staff.”

[Update to update: Manzella said Tuesday morning, “At this point, Newport Beach lifeguards plan on keeping posted advisories in effect until noon today.”]

UPDATE NO. 1, OCT. 19, 12:49 P.M.: A stretch of Newport Beach has been closed due to the presence of a “non-aggressive” shark near the shore, according to lifeguards. The eight-foot hammerhead was spotted around 11 a.m. in the water near the end of Newport Pier, prompting “per protocol” the closure of the beach about a mile in each direction, in this case from 10th Street to 40th Street, according to Jennifer Manzella, the Newport Beach Fire Department spokeswoman. “The shark did not display any aggressive behavior,” said Manzella, who added lifeguards would be reassessing the situation throughout the afternoon, and they anticipate that the beaches will be reopened by tomorrow morning. Signs have been posted to notify the public of the beach closure.

ORIGINAL POST, OCT. 9, 11:53 A.M.: Three Huntington Beach beaches that have been closed since a surfer's close encounter with an aggressive shark Thursday afternoon are scheduled to reopen if … there are no more close encounters with an aggressive shark before then.

The water off Sunset, Surfside and Bolsa Chica state beaches closed after 3:20 p.m. Thursday, when a 10-foot shark swam within three feet of a 44-year-old surfer who was about 60 yards out, according to Huntington Beach Marine Safety Lt. Claude Panis.

The shark's movement was described as “rushing,” which is considered a sign of aggression along with “bumping,” “circling” and “gaping” (or opening the mouth).

Two other people also reported seeing a shark at the same time as the surfer, although a lifeguard helicopter that went up afterward didn't see a thing, Panis said.

Still, the water off the three beaches was closed as a precaution. The sand has remained open (and presumably shark free, unless personal-injury lawyers have been passing out business cards to sun lovers).

With big time heat forecast to be returning this weekend, there were fears keeping the water closed would screw up some beach-going plans. Surf has been up as well. Officials reiterate that should not be a problem so long as no one spots you-know-who.

Email: mc****@oc******.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *