Nick Carroll On: The Eerie Great White Shark Similarities Between Ballina & San Clemente

9 May 2017 17

Nick Carroll

Senior Writer

Just last Sunday afternoon near Capistrano Beach, San Clemente. Photo by Matt Larmand

Just last Sunday afternoon near Capistrano Beach, San Clemente. Photo by Matt Larmand

COASTALWATCH PLUS | EXCLUSIVE CONTENT

THE EERIE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN BALLINA AND SAN CLEMENTE

Why these towns share a great white problem.

Let’s get one thing clear here. The waves are way better around Ballina.

But aside from that — the extraordinary scenes playing out recently in the near-shore waters of San Clemente, California, make these two very different coastal towns almost blood sisters.

Like Ballina two years ago, San Clemente has suddenly become host to an influx of young adult great white sharks. Drones planing along above its placid springtime waters are spying half a dozen of the animals at a time, cruising just a couple of hundred metres offshore from the otherwise phenomenally non-threatening surf zone of Poche Beach just north of town.

Surf cams mounted on the lifeguard tower near Lower Trestles are capturing young white sharks in full breach between Lowers and Uppers, in waters no more than three or four metres deep, while the classic Lowers crowd sits in seeming blissful ignorance 100 metres away.

Last week the whole area was thrown into shock by an attack on a woman at San Onofre. The woman had decided to take a bodyboard and fins and kick out to her boyfriend, who was riding a SUP. The shark hit her from side-on and took most of the flesh from the back of her upper right thigh; at last report she was still in a critical condition in a San Diego hospital.

As you can imagine, many local surfers are in a full on spin about these events — just as were many Ballina and region locals in 2016.

Step back, though, and some other much more telling connections appear. Here are three of them...

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