Surfers react to water closures after shark attack


Junior Lifeguard volunteer Colton Jeffrey tells Raymond Brookman of Santa Cruz that Cowell surf break is closed Tuesday after a kayaker’s boat was bitten by a shark off Lighthouse Point. (Dan Coyro — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

SANTA CRUZ >> There were only five surfers out at Cowell Beach in a clean waist-high south swell Tuesday afternoon. The typically packed surf spot was almost empty after a newly posted shark warning denied water activities from the San Lorenzo rivermouth to Fair Avenue until Saturday morning.

The closure — and reports of the attack, which did not cause any injury — has shocked the surf community.

The order, which shut down water activities in Main Beach, Cowell Beach, Steamer Lane, Its Beach and others, was issued after a large shark bit a kayak a quarter mile off Steamer Lane about 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Santa Cruz Fire Department.

The kayak’s strong Kevlar hull was crunched in the attack, but the boater was not hurt, Fire Chief Jim Frawley said.

“We’re not closing the beach. We are closing water activity,” Frawley said. “We’re just going to appeal to them. ‘Help us out here. There’s plenty of other places people go paddle and kayak.’”

Those who violate the order could face citations, he said.

“We don’t want to do that,” Frawley said. “Marine safety staff and lifeguards will monitor the area in the meantime.”

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