La Jolla Diver Bit By Shark

As reported on

LA JOLLA -- A 28-year-old man was reportedly bitten in the calf by a shark while spearfishing with two companions off the La Jolla coast Monday. The free diver, Justin Schlaefli, suffered no harm apart from a partially shredded wetsuit, said the victim's dive buddy, Roman Castro, 30, of Mission Valley.

Schlaefli, a member of the San Diego Free Divers and a lifelong surfer and diver, chronicled the shark encounter on an online spearfishing forum. According to the account, he was diving with Castro and another rookie near Children's Pool and Wipeout Beach about 5 p.m. Monday.

Castro caught a Calico bass early on, and Schlaefli attached the fish on his "stringer" belt because Castro had forgotten his. It was about then that he noticed what appeared to be a 6- to 8-foot sevengill shark.

Schlaefli told the others to form a protective circle and keep their eyes open for the shark should it approach, because "something in the body language of the shark screamed 'danger,'" he wrote. When it didn't reappear, the three began to head back to shore.

"I feel this sudden pressure and movement on my calf. I looked down and the shark had my calf in its mouth and bit down three times," Schlaefli wrote. He described the bites as "test bites" that weren't full-down chomps. He was able to hit the shark and shake him off.

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