SAN FRANCISCO >> A professional surfer competing in a contest Tuesday at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach left the water in the middle of a heat after saying he saw a large shark.
Surfer Dusty Payne, 22, of Hawaii left the surf while competing against Jordy Smith of South Africa, saying he saw a large shark fin just outside the lineup.
"I was just sitting there, and I was waiting for a wave. I’ve seen dolphins before and it wasn’t a dolphin," Payne said during an interview on the beach with the Rip Curl Pro Search event’s camera crew right after. "It was the biggest fin I’ve ever seen in my life coming straight at me."
The sighting follows an attack by a 9-foot shark on a surfer Saturday at Marina State Beach in Monterey County, about 100 miles south of San Francisco.
Eric Tarantino suffered injuries to his neck and arm, but was released from the hospital Monday.
While the frigid waters off San Francisco are known to be host to white sharks, attacks are rare. The last attack, which was not fatal, occurred Nov. 2, 2005, according to the Shark Research Committee.
Despite the alleged sighting by Payne, the contest continued.
Ten-time world champion Kelly Slater, 39, won his heat, needing only one more winning heat during the San Francisco contest to capture his 11th title.
The contest in San Francisco began Tuesday, and is the first professional surfing event in the city in decades.