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Huntington Beach waters reopen a day after surfer's encounter with baby shark

Sightings of young great white sharks are on the rise, but shark attacks remain extremely rare

The waters off Huntington Beach were reopened to the public Saturday morning, a day after officials said a surfer was bumped by a 7-foot-long baby great white shark.

“Beachgoers are back in the water and it looks like a regular Saturday in summer,” Lt. Claude Panis of the Huntington Beach Fire Department's Marine Safety Division said.

The surfer was unharmed in the encounter, reported at 8:45 a.m. Friday, which prompted officials to restrict entry to the water for a mile in both directions along one of Southern California’s most popular beaches, Panis said.

“The surfer was bumped, which meets our criteria for aggressive behavior by a shark,” Panis said."There was some very minor damage to his surfboard -- a little dent."

The closure was lifted at 8 a.m. Saturday after a thorough search of the area by a police helicopter and a lifeguard rescue boat and jet ski, he said.

As a precautionary measure, Panis advised that the public “keep in mind that when you venture into the ocean, you’re entering a wilderness area.”

Sightings of young great white sharks are on the rise, officials said. Still, shark attacks remain extremely rare.

Follow me @LouisSahagun for more fascinating stories.

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