Many experienced ocean kayakers have had encounters of one kind or another with sharks. This year quite a few of the shark encounters in California have been with hammerhead sharks.

Hammerhead sharks are one of the many exotic warm water visitors to the California coastline this year and the subject of at least one viral video and even more nightly news hype. Yet hammerheads are hardly known as man-eaters and one kayak angler, Dylan Marks, has stepped forward to set the record straight regarding the “attack” he was subject to in September.

In the accompanying video, Marks says his attack was no more than a reckless and bungled release attempt, the hammerhead’s thrashing head connecting with Marks’ foot as he leadered the shark closer to his kayak. A deep gash in his foot and lots of blood caused responders on the beach to call in a helicopter to airlift Marks to the closest hospital.


A large hammerhead shark cruises near Dylan Marks’ kayak moments before taking a bait and ultimately causing a media frenzy.

The news was out. Shark attack! What followed was a media frenzy. Subsequently Dylan decided to no longer target sharks during his kayak fishing outings.

Targeting hammerheads is exactly what Marks says he was doing — taking advantage of the variety offered by building El Niño conditions to hook up with an exotic animal. The video states Marks is strictly a catch-and-release angler, so food is not part of the reason he fishes from his kayak.

He says is stance is not one of fear. Instead,  respect for sharks and a willingness to do away with the myths surrounding the various species is the basis of his new approach and the video his way of helping to dispel the misunderstandings and fear. The video was provided by and you can find more information on their website. The organization can also be followed on Twitter and Facebook and is currently promoting the #RespectNotFear campaign.


Dylan’s kayak is watched over by his fishing buddy during the medevac operation. Local media outlets had a heyday with the alleged attack.


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