‘Shark Week’ Scares Off Kayakers

Even the leopard sharks get people shaking in their speedos

By Derek Togerson and Sarah Grieco
|  Tuesday, Aug 14, 2012  |  Updated 12:42 PM PDT
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Owner of dive and kayak shop OEX La Jolla tells NBC 7 reporter Derek Togerson that during

Owner of dive and kayak shop OEX La Jolla tells NBC 7 reporter Derek Togerson that during "Shark Week" people are scared to go in the water.

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If you're looking for something to do this week ---- try kayaking in La Jolla. There won't be a line.

Kayaking and snorkeling tours take a dive when the popular Discovery Channel week-long special “Shark Week” shows up, according to Mike Samer who owns dive shop OEX La Jolla.

“When Shark Week comes on, basically our business will down 20 to 25 percent,” he said.

Even the leopard sharks get people shaking in their speedos.

“We have to always say, I tell everybody who works for me, before you say the word shark, when you mention the leopard sharks, harmless leopard sharks,” Samer said.

But his advice doesn't always work.

“Sharks are sharks to me,” said Elaine Strobel from Connecticut.

On Sunday, she dipped her toes in to the Pacific ocean -- sharing space with sharks -- for the first time.

“Yes, I did see the sharks, and I was terrified,” Strobel said. “I'm so used to ‘Jaws’ and stuff like that, and that was done in Nantucket, so I'm afraid of the sharks, yes.”

She said when “Shark Week” airs, it brings back bad memories that make her want to avoid the water.

But the good thing is, with time, the fear washes away.
 
“I'm talking to people, and I saw people actually get out of the kayak and start snorkeling so they could see them, I think my fears are a lot less,” said Stroble. “I had such a great time paddleboarding and stuff…I just will make sure that I don't fall in, and I will make sure my feet don't dangle.”

 

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