Kayak Fisherman Fends Off Hammerhead Shark In Weird Southern California Ocean Conditions

The hammerhead shark probably followed the warm waters from Mexico.

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This hammerhead shark attacked a Southern California kayak fisherman relentlessly. Screengrab via Mark McCracken/YouTube
John Virata

A kayak fisherman off the coast of Santa Barbara had an encounter with an aggressive hammerhead shark and it was all caught on video. Mark McCracken, 33, was fishing about a half mile off the coast of Gaviota State Beach when the hammerhead came calling, ramming McCracken’s kayak. McCracken had to fend off the small shark for about 15 minutes with his paddle as the shark would make run after run after run at McCracken’s Kayak. Hammerhead sharks are not native to the waters of Southern California but the run of warm water has brought them and other warm water species to the SoCal coast.

“It hit the back of my kayak twice and I turned around to see it,” McCracken told NBC News. “I couldn’t tell if he was biting [the kayak] or if he was head-butting it, but soon as I saw it I just started going at him with the paddle.” What is more interesting is the fact that McCracken didn’t have any bait or fish in his kayak when the shark attacked.

After trying to convince the hammerhead shark that it should look for food elsewhere, McCracken paddled into shore, with the hammerhead following him. He said that as he got out of his kayak in about three feet of water, the hammerhead was right there. The shark would just not quit.

This hammerhead shark attacked a Southern California kayak fisherman relentlessly. Screengrab by Mark McCracken

For those of you following the news, California has been experiencing some extremely weird ocean conditions these last few months thanks to that weather phenomenon El Niño. The weird weather has warmed the ocean off the Southern California coast to record temperatures, with some days going 75 to 77 degrees, which is fairly unheard of around these parts. And to top it off, the water has been in the mid 70s for several months. This warm water, which is about 4.5 °F higher than normal water temperatures is what scientists have called the blob. It extends from from Mexico to Alaska and is wreaking havoc on all sorts of marine life bringing to Southern California animals that aren’t native to the area. In June the SoCal coast had experienced an influx of millions of tuna crabs that washed up on the shore, and with these crabs came yellowfin tuna.

The fall of 2015 will certainly be interesting with regard to what we’ll see off the coast of Southern California.

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