Shark ‘aggressively bumps’ man near Encinitas; minor injury reported

Encinitas lifeguards put up advisory signs south of Moonlight Beach after a man reported an encounter with a shark on April 29, 2020. The advisory will be up for 24 hours.
(K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

The attack happened about 6 p.m. a little south of Moonlight Beach in San Diego County. Authorities closed access to the water a mile north and south of the area.


A young man reported being attacked by a shark Wednesday evening south of Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, though authorities believe the animal “aggressively bumped” him rather than bit him.

The incident happened about 6 p.m. in the water off C Street and Moonlight Lane, according to Encinitas lifeguard Capt. Larry Giles and San Diego sheriff’s Lt. Tim Matzkiw. It prompted authorities to post advisory signs a mile north and south of the area warning surfers and swimmers about the reported encounter.

The victim, described only as a young man who was surfing or body boarding, was taken by medics to Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas with a cut on his foot, Giles said.


The young man reported that a large shark circled him, and he possibly kicked the animal, Giles said.

“I would call it more of a bump, or an aggressive act,” Giles said. “It didn’t bite.”

It was not immediately clear what type of shark reportedly attacked the man, Giles said.

Jack Shannon lives nearby and said he was checking the surf from above the beach, near a lookout at the end of A Street, when he heard a lifeguard announce over the loudspeaker that someone had been bitten. Lifeguards began ordering surfers out of the water.

Encinitas had just reopened Moonlight Beach for walkers, runners, swimmers and surfers on Monday morning. The beach, along with most others across the county, had been closed since March 23 as part of the county’s efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Shannon said the beach scene “has been chaotic” since it reopened Monday morning, with visitors arriving early and staying until well past sundown to observe the bioluminescent light that’s visible at night.

Moonlight Beach is about 1.5 miles south of where Keane Webre-Hayes, then 13, was attacked and critically injured in September 2018.

Riggins writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.


8:31 p.m. April 29, 2020: This story was updated with clarification about the contact between the shark and the man.

8:31 p.m. April 29, 2020: This story was updated with additional details.