Francisco Javier Solorio Jr., a 39-year-old surfer from Orcutt, California, was killed by a shark on Tuesday morning while surfing with his friend at Surf Beach, a remote surfing break on the Vandenberg Air Force Base.
According to the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department, a friend of Solorio’s was attempting first aid procedures when a crew from the nearby Vandenberg Air Force Base Fire Department arrived on scene. Sadly, his heroic efforts were in vain. Paramedics declared the victim dead on the beach.
Tuesday’s horrifying incident comes almost exactly two years after another fatal shark attack at Surf Beach. On October 22, 2010, the victim was Lucas Ransom, a 19-year-old bodyboarder who was attending college nearby.
The secluded Surf Beach sits just north of Point Conception, a headland that separates the more pristine and wild Central California coastline from the packed and protected Southern California beaches. The allure for surfers is its seclusion from the morass of development that plagues much of the Southern California coast, and its exposure to more open-ocean swells that lead to bigger surf.
Most shark attacks in California have taken place north of Point Conception. However, in 2008, Dave Martin, 66, was killed while swimming with a bunch of friends off the coast of Solana Beach in San Diego County while training for a triathlon. Martin was on the tail end of a group of swimmers when the shark made its fatal strike.
In 2003, Deborah Franzman, 50, was killed while swimming off the coast of Avila Beach, roughly 40 miles north of Surf Beach. Franzman was known for swimming regularly with seals.
According to the Department of Fish and Game, this is the 13th fatal shark attack in California since 1952.
Top photo is of VAB officials closing Surf Beach in the wake of the fatal 2010 attack. Surf Beach, as noted on the map, is north of Santa Barbara, above Point Conception.