Kayaker Attacked by Great White Shark off Catalina Island

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shark teeth, danny mcdaniel, paddlexaminer

An approximately 19 foot great white shark attacked a kayaker off Catalina Island on Saturday, October 5, 2019. The attack lasted only seconds and left behind two shark’s teeth embedded in the kayak. The teeth were roughly two inches long, which enabled scientists from the Shark Lab at Cal State Long Beach to estimate the shark’s size.

The attack took place near Ship Rock, a popular open water diving spot, roughly three miles from Emerald Bay. Danny McDaniel, a San Diego resident, felt a push immediately before the shark attacked. His first thought was that his friends kayak had bumped into him. When McDaniel turned he saw the nose of the shark rise up out of the water and its jaws clamped down on the back of his kayak.

shark teeth, danny mcdaniel, paddlexaminer
Shark’s teeth recovered from Danny McDaniel’s kayak. Photo: Danny McDaniel

The shark attack did not capsize McDaniels kayak, but did spin it around 180 degrees. McDaniel’s friend John Chambers witnessed the encounter from about 25 feet away. The shark did not make any further contact with either kayak and both paddlers returned to shore unharmed. 

Shark encounters are not uncommon in the waters off Catalina Island. A kayaker was tossed into the air in a 2008 incident. More recently, a shark bit a standup paddleboard roughly one mile from Avalon Harbor in 2012.

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For guidance on how to respond to a shark sighting, read Shark Encounters: Tips for Safe Paddling.

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