Dr. Dave Martin, a 66-year-old retired veterinarian, [was one of a] group of nine swimmers [who] entered the water near Fletcher Cove, off San Diego, in an area known as Table Tops, at about 7 a.m. for a morning ocean swim, according to Lt. Mike Cea of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. They swam northward, and while they were swimming, Martin was attacked by a shark.
Because of the form of the attack and Martin's wounds, the shark was almost certainly a white shark, according to Prof. Richard Rosenblatt, a shark expert at Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla. He estimated the fish to be 12 to 17 feet long.
Witness said that Martin was lifted from the water by the shark. White sharks normally feed on seals, attacking from below with a powerful bite. The white shark ranges from north of San Francisco to the Gulf of California, so it is not unusual for them to be in the San Diego area.
Piecing it together, it seems the shark might have mistaken him for a seal and the fact that it bit him, harried him then let him go suggests it realized its mistake and then went off for seals. I should have thought the unusual presence of sea-lions in the area would have given them pause before they swam out but no - they were part of a triathlon club and seemed to know the ropes.
Here is an article on "Shark Dives" in the San Diego area which shows that the possibility of sharks in the area is at least substantial. Another thing which puzzles me is the board riders who went out the next day after the attack. Here is a list of sharks indigenous to the waters off California - another reason it didn't seem too bright an idea to venture out unprotected.
Finally is the nonchalant [or was it tongue in cheek] comment by one blogger:
San Diego beaches will probably be not-so-popular for a while.
For a while.