Ben Kelly Surfer great white shark attack off California beach

A 26-year-old surfer tragically lost his life last weekend in a fatal shark attack off the coast of California. Local surfer Ben Kelly was surfing near a closed California beach at the time of the horrific shark attack. Autopsy and DNA evidence confirm Kelly was the victim of a great white shark.

Deadly Shark Attack Off Closed California Beach

Daily Mail reported that Ben Kelly was surfing about 100 yards off of Manresa State Beach on the northern end of Monterey Bay when he was attacked by a shark at around 1:30pm last Saturday.

Based on the autopsy report, experts said that Kelly was the victim of a subadult great white shark that exceeded 10 feet in length. Kelly succumbed to a bite to his right leg which hit a major artery.

California State Parks later confirmed that DNA evidence from the shark attack matched that of a 10 to 12 foot white shark.

The official statement from California State Parks read: 

Forensic analysis of DNA evidence obtained from the surfer’s wetsuit and surfboard demonstrated that a white shark attacked the surfer. CDFW forensics scientists and Dr. Chris Lowe, director of CSULB’s Shark Lab, estimated the shark’s length between 10-12 feet. CDFW tested the impacted property of the victim in their forensic lab in Sacramento and determined the species of shark.

RELATED: Bird’s-Eye View of a Hammerhead Ripping Through a School of Smaller Sharks!

The California State Parks website states that Manresa State Beach is closed from 11am-5pm every day due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The beach is open to local residents during other times as long as they keep moving and don’t sit in one spot. 

“State Parks expresses its deepest sympathy to the family of the victim,” California State Parks said in a statement.

California Shark Sightings And Attacks

Local drone photographer Eric Mailander told KRON4 that he had seen fifteen great white sharks while out on his boat on Saturday morning.

Stingray FPV posted footage to YouTube of great white sharks ranging from 6 to 12 feet long near Seacliff State Beach near Santa Cruz on May 5th.

Local news sites have said that the number of sharks in the area have been increasing, with one outlet even dubbing the area as a “shark park.”

Saturday’s incident was just the third time that someone had been killed in a shark attack in Northern California in the last 36 years.

RELATED: Great White Shark Drags a Boat of Fishermen for Two Miles

A 28 year-old man was killed at Pigeon Point by a 16-foot great white shark in 1984.

And the second fatal incident occurred in 2004, when a diver was killed by a 17-foot great white shark near Kibeseliah Rock in Mendocino County. 

Tributes Pour For Ben Kelly

Kelly was reportedly a beloved figure in the surfing community of Santa Cruz, where he owned a local business hand crafting boards.

“Ben you are one of a kind, one of the good ones, and you will be sorely missed. Aloha bro and much love on your journey to surfing the stars. At least I know you will have a good board under your feet,” one Instagram user wrote in tribute to Kelly.

Another added, “BK had one of the biggest hearts and you’ll be missed brother. Till our next surf up on the clouds. RIP BK.”

More tributes have been pouring in for Kelly in the days since his passing. Sadly, Kelly leaves behind his young wife.

“A true legend and sweetest man I knew. He showed love to everyone and was loved by many. Was honored know him for the little I did. Rest In Peace my man,” one person commented, with another adding, “Prayers for you Ben, and my heart breaks for your friends and family who miss you.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with Ben Kelly’s family and friends. 

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