Wednesday July 12, 2023

Los Angeles Times

It was Joon Lee’s fourth time surfing on Sunday.

The 40-year-old Apple software engineer from San Jose had rented a board and driven south to Santa Cruz to catch some waves off the coast of the iconic surf town.

But about 90 minutes into his session, he was attacked — by a sea otter.

Since mid-June, an otter — which remains nameless — has been attacking and terrorizing surfers off the Santa Cruz coastline — in at least one case, stealing a board.

In recent days, the attacks have grown increasingly aggressive.

Lee said he’d been surfing near an otter for most of the time he was there — in Steamer Lane, off Cowell Beach. “It was being peaceful and friendly, and all of us surfers were like, ‘Oh, it’s so cute,’” he said.

But then another otter appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and swam at another surfer.

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