The early morning sighting of an estimated 10-foot great white shark feeding on a seal or sea lion off Carpinteria Beach prompted lifeguards to post caution signs along the beachfront and cancel swim and paddle events during Friday’s junior lifeguards competition.
Al Fimlaid, supervisor of Santa Barbara County’s Aquatic Program called the situation “an anomaly” before reassuring parents in person and via email that all water events had been called off. Another supervisor who’s been with junior guards for 22 years in Santa Barbara said he’s never heard of competitions cancelled because of shark sightings.
With water contact off limits, upward of 1,500 junior guards — coming in from as far as Avila Beach and Leo Carrillo State Beach — focused on soft-sand relay races, distance runs, and flags. The flags competition grew especially heated between Santa Barbara’s East Beach and Avila boys, as the final two tied three times before Santa Barbara’s Garrett Haller (pictured above, in red shorts) snatched the win.