Are There Sharks At Mavericks?

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So if you’re considering going surfing at Mavericks Beach in California, you might be wondering if there are sharks at this popular surf spot.

Mavericks is a popular surfing area in Northern California. This area is shark-infested. The spot is known for its great white sharks from time to time. In fact, there have been quite a few past encounters with great whites at this beach in Half Moon Bay.

Mavericks has some of the most dangerous waves on Earth. These waves break off at Pillar Point in Half Moon Bay in northern California. It is a very popular surfing spot. Let us look at whether you might encounter sharks at Mavericks.

Mavericks Is Known For Its Great Whites

Great white sharks are resident in and around the waters of Mavericks. This makes sense since California is known for its great white sharks. In 2019, Drake Stanley (a big wave surfer and professional surf rescuer) came within a few feet of a Great White while on his jet ski near Half Moon Bay.

He evacuated eight surfers after realizing a Great White was roaming the waters near his jet ski and was making a beeline for another surfer. Stanley estimates that the shark was 16 to 18 feet long. Luckily, he could divert the shark’s attention by revving his engine to draw it away from the surfer.

In 2000, one lucky surfer, Paul Evwer, was left with only a bite mark after escaping from a Great White. The shark lunged at Evwer’s midsection while he was getting footage for a documentary. Evwer pushed at the shark’s nose and safely made it to the shore, except for a 13-inch bite mark.

In July of 2023 a great white shark named Tough Guy was hanging around Mavericks.

Best Time To Surf At Mavericks

The best time to surf at Mavericks is September or October through March. January is the peak month. These are the best months to catch swells from the west of around 8 feet or more with intervals of 15 seconds.

How To Avoid A Shark Attack

You can do some things to avoid a shark attack at Mavericks or any other area. According to Shark Stewards, you can follow these tips to minimize your risk of getting attacked by a shark:

  • Do not go surfing or swimming in areas with high activity of seals in the water. Sharks are well known for eating seals and mistaking people on surging boards for seals.
  • Look at the behavior of animals. Circling birds, dead whales, feeding seals, and dolphins may indicate a near shark.
  • Do not go into the water alone. Go in a group.
  • Avoid the water during the night, dusk, and dawn. Sharks are usually very active during these times.
  • While not proven by science, some believe that you should wear not wear bright patterned wetsuits and use longboarders.
  • Do not go near areas where people are fishing and using fish bait.
  • If you’re bleeding due to a cut or other wound, get out of the water. You should also not enter the water if you are bleeding.
  • Let other people in the water know if you see a shark. Quickly make your way to the shore and be careful not to attract attention to yourself.
  • Warn others that there are sharks by posting it on social media so other people can avoid the area for the time being
  • Avoid wearing shiny jewelry. The reflection of it might attract sharks if they are nearby.
  • Avoid splashing around. Sharks have the ability to detect even small changes in water pressure and electromagnetic fields and other abilities that make them nearly invincible in the ocean.

What To Do When A Shark Attacks You

Some people have survived shark attacks. You can do a few things as a last resort when you find yourself with one near you. It’s easier said than done, but do not panic. If you panic, the shark’s predatory instincts will kick in.

Remember that shakes are curious animals. Just because one is nearby, does not mean you’re on the menu. Stay calm and keep eye contact to show assertiveness. If it approaches, push the shark away. If a shark lunges or attacks, strike the shark’s nose, eyes, or gills as a last resort and make your way to shore. Do your best to avoid the shark attack altogether.

If your arm gets bitten, you should raise it above your head to stem the bleeding. If you’re wounded, don’t look at the wound to avoid going into shock, and rather focus on getting to the shore.

Characteristics Of A Great White Shark

Great Whites are known to roam Mavericks. Let’s look at a few characteristics of the Great White. These sharks are shaped like torpedoes with bulky bodies and powerful tails. Great Whites’ bellies are white, and they have gray, brown, and dark blue patterns on their backs and sides. They do not exceed 21 feet in length and usually weigh around 1500 to 4000 pounds.

Great Whites have strong muscles, great eyesight, good hearing, and a good sense of smell. They have massive jaws with coarsely serrated teeth. They usually feed on fish, other sharks, sea turtles, small porpoises, seals, sea lions, and small whales.

In areas where they commonly roam, sharks usually attack humans unprovoked. They generally attack with a single bite and retreat and usually don’t return for a second bite. It is said that sharks usually attack out of curiosity or because they mistake humans for seals when on their surfing boards.

Great Whites are also an endangered species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They are frequently victims of finning. Sharks rarely kill humans, but 20 to 30 million sharks are victims of commercial and sport fishing.


Mavericks is a popular surfing spot. The best months to go surfing at Mavericks is from September or October through March. Although there haven’t been a lot of shark attacks, the area is known for Great White sharks.

Usually, they are just curious. However, Great Whites are known to attack unprovoked. This is why it is vital to know how to avoid a shark attack and what you can do if you come face to face with one of nature’s apex predators.