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

Huntington Beach waters reopen a day after surfer's encounter with baby shark
The waters off Huntington Beach were reopened to the public the morning of Saturday July 11, a day aftera shark sightingprompted officials to prohibit surfing and swimming for 24 hours. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

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.

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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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