Aggressive Shark Behavior Prompts Memorial Day Beach Closure In San Clemente

San Clemente officials shut down ocean access at all city beaches on Memorial Day due to confirmed aggressive shark behavior near T-Street Beach. The closure, set to last until 8 p.m. Monday night pending no additional sightings, came after a surfer reported being knocked off his board by a shark on Sunday.

Evan Garcia, the surfer involved in the incident, told KTTV-TV that he was surfing at sunset when he came face to face with the shark. “When that thing hit me from below, I knew right away that it was a shark,” Garcia said. “It was strong enough to knock me completely into the water.”

Garcia believes the shark was a juvenile measuring between 4 and 6 feet, leaving a foot-long bite mark on his 7-foot board. He credits the board, a gift from his mother, with saving his life.

Despite the warnings, video footage showed many people continuing to enjoy the beach, with some even wading into the water. A December 2022 study found that there were 201 confirmed shark incidents in California waters between 1950 and 2021, with 15 fatal encounters and 107 non-fatal injuries.

While the beach closure disappointed some beachgoers, they tried to make the most of the holiday. “It’s Memorial Day weekend, we’ll live it up and have fun with the kids regardless and enjoy each other’s company,” said Kylie Andino to the Orange County Register.