Robert Pickett didn’t care if he missed his surfing trip to the Channel Islands on Monday. He wanted to be there to watch the surfers catch waves after a shark bit him on the wrist.
The 67-year-old from Murrieta was surfing near Thousand Steps Beach just after noon when he lost his board and was dragged out to sea by a shark that bit his left forearm, according to a call for service that Channel Islands National Park dispatchers recorded on Monday.
Pickett “didn’t really know what happened,” said his son, Bobby Pickett, who said his father was thankful to be alive.
“He just lost his board and was dragged toward the cave,” Bobby Pickett said. “They said there were some hundreds of yards of surf to the surf line down there.”
While his father was missing, Bobby Pickett said he first noticed a shark in the background about 100 yards away while he was working at a gas station near Pismo Beach and Woolsey.
He watched a shark swim away when he passed him.
Bobby Pickett said he didn’t think much of it because sharks were plentiful around the Bay Area.
But then the shark re-appeared, attacked his father and started to head for shore, according to Bobby Pickett.
“We tried to get him back to shore,” Bobby Pickett said. “We were about 3 miles away from shore.”
He and other surfers pulled the shark back into the ocean and gave it a food scrap off of Pickett’s board to scare it away, he said.
“We thought we had him all cornered in,” Bobby Pickett said. “But he came right at me again.”
He ran to his dad’s side and scooped up a piece of ice to apply to the swelling on his left forearm.
“I didn’t want him getting hurt any worse than he already was,” Bobby Pickett said.
The Coast Guard deployed a drone, just north of Thousand Steps Beach, and deployed a boat crew from Camp Pendleton, but they couldn’t reach the site in time, according to the message for service.
The Coast Guard flew the shark infested waters on Tuesday, which Bobby Pickett said was a welcome sight.
The Coast Guard did not return a call for comment on Tuesday.
Nicole Santa Cruz is a reporter for Times Community News.