Surfer survives shark encounter in Orange County

Sharks displaying "aggressive behavior" in Orange County waters has triggered the closure of ocean access to the public in San Clemente, according to officials. 

The city issued a warning Monday notifying the public that ocean water access at all San Clemente beaches is restricted due to a shark sighting near T Street Beach. 

"Beaches will remain open, but water access will remain closed until 8 p.m. tonight, pending no additional shark sightings," the city said before reopening later in the night. 

One surfer told FOX 11 that he's lucky to be alive after a close encounter with a shark. 

The bite mark on his surfboard was nearly a foot in diameter. His encounter with the shark happened Sunday at sunset on T Street. Evan Garcia was knocked off his 7-foot surfboard by what he described as a 4 to 6 foot juvenile shark. Once in the water, he opened his eyes and saw the shark. 

"When that thing hit me from below, I knew right away that it was a shark. There's people out there who have been injured by sharks. And I'm so lucky that it only got my board," Garcia told FOX 11.


"My mom bought me that board three years ago and I've surfed with that board in Mexico. I've surfed with that board all up and down the coast. But he made that board strong and that board saved my life."

After Garcia's encounter in the water, he approached a lifeguard and showed him the surfboard. The lifeguard lieutenant then sent a picture of the board to a shark expert who immediately confirmed it was a shark. They then watched the video on and got everybody out of the water and cleared the beach. 

SUGGESTED:  6 LA County beaches cited for high levels of bacteria, possibly related to fecal matter

This comes as LA County issued a warning advising against swimming, surfing and playing in ocean waters at five area beaches due to excessive bacteria levels. That warning covers Santa Monica Canyon Creek at Will Rogers State Beach, Mother Beach in Marina Del Rey, Malibu Lagoon at Surfrider Beach, Santa Monica Pier, and Inner Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro. 

Information on beach conditions is available 24 hours a day on the county's beach closure hotline at 1-800-525-5662. A map of impacted locations and more information is available at