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San Diego lifeguards to watch for sharks over Labor Day weekend

September 2, 2011 |  8:51 am

  beach at the Children's Pool in La Jolla
San Diego lifeguards plan to vigilantly watch for sharks this Labor Day weekend as more than 200,000 visitors are expected to descend on area beaches to mark the unofficial end of summer.

Three credible shark sightings in the past week have led to beach closures: Two in Mission Beach and one in La Jolla.

Additional lifeguards will be on duty, officials said. A few years ago, a Labor Day brawl at Mission Beach caused a political uproar. Since then, the city has added lifeguards and beach police for the long weekend.

On Wednesday, a two-mile stretch of beach in La Jolla, north and south of the Children's Pool, was closed after a surfer spotted a dorsal fin.

On Thursday, the beach reopened and surfers and boogie-boarders raced into the water.

Tim Warner, 27, a Christian missionary from Mozambique, said the surf off La Jolla was so strong it swept him 100 yards or more before he was able to paddle frantically to the more tranquil waters of the Children's Pool cove.

"It's intense out there, real intense," Warner said as he lugged his boogie board to shore.

His boogie-boarding buddy, Clay Walking-Eagle, 26, of Carlsbad, agreed. "It's a rush," he said.

Local and national news reporters swarmed the beach, looking for sharks and pestering onlookers for quotes.

One theory unconfirmed by scientists is that sharks are drawn to San Diego beaches by a food source -- seals lounging on the beach at the Children's Pool.

With no sharks in sight, the surf was the attraction Thursday.

A crew from the Weather Channel was busy filming the foaming water for a documentary on rough-water rescues.

"Surf's up, dude," said Cathy Clark, a Weather Channel producer, an expression that needed no further explanation.


Coast Guard calls off search for missing swimmer

High surf set to pound Southern California beaches

San Diego lifeguards on watch for shark; La Jolla beach reopened

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: The beach at the Children's Pool in La Jolla. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times