SUPing with Sharks in Manhattan Beach

Local Paddlers Run into Leopard Sharks in the Water

There have been a lot of shark sightings of two Great White Sharks in Manhattan Beach at El Porto all summer long. I was out paddling to the buoy in August when I saw a fin. It did not look like a dolphin fin, but smaller, sharper and more square. Another stand up paddler was near me and said it was most definitely not a dolphin. Creepy. About 20 minutes later on my water back from the buoy I looked down and saw a grey / brown mass about 7 ft long. It scared the crap out of me. I tried to be calm but it’s hard when you see something like that. Fairly certain it was the great white shark everyone keeps talking about. But enough about that, let’s talk about leopard sharks.

Leopard sharks hang out towards the bottom sand in beach breaks and eat fish. They can range in size from little to small and they don’t want to gnaw on humans or bite your legs off. While this is comforting, it still feels eery to be swimming and surfing next to them. Sometimes while surfing your legs might dangle in the water and brush up alongside one of these suckers. Spooky for sure.

Yesterday while SUPing in Manhattan Beach we came across dozens of leopard sharks. I mean, dozens. Sharks in Manhattan Beach? That has been the headline all summer long. And they are all swimming around the bottom of the beach break really close to shore. I’ve never seen anything like that before. What’s bringing them in so close to the water?  Here is a video of the leopard sharks swimming around the bottom. There were more than this but these are the ones I was able to catch.

The above video was shot using my Go Pro Camera. I was holding it in my hand but I think next time I want to duct tape my Go Pro Camera to my paddle to get some more interesting views.

It’s amazing what you can see when you’re stand up paddling above the water like this. When you are surfing, you are sitting on your board with your legs in the water and you can’t see a thing. What’s better? At this point I’m not sure. We’ve been surfing for a long time and have never seen sharks in Manhattan Beach like this. Is it global warming? Different migration patterns? We aren’t sure, but we’d like to learn more and find out.

What do you think? Are there sharks in your home break? Does SUPing provide a different perspective for you? Post in the comments and let us know!

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