Thursday, January 29, 2015

The "baddest" shark at Isla Guadalupe?

I want to introduce you to some of the sharks we have met over the last 14 years at Guadalupe Island.
Thanks to the Photo Id project we are able to individually identify the sharks and keep track of who's visiting the Island each year. We are now at over 155 different sharks, some of them having been seen at Guadalupe every years, since we started going there in 2001.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the ID project here and now I want to start out by introducing you to the guy who got me hooked on shark diving.

"Shredder" was one of the real characters at Guadalupe Island. Never the most careful shark, he definitely kept us entertained an on our toes. Most divers recognized him by his shredded dorsal fin. While some called him "Scar" and others "Cal Ripfin", to me, he has always been "Shredder". Most people think that he got his name because of his "shredded" dorsal fin. That is actually not the case. He got his name a few years before he "shredded" his fin. On the very first trip to Guadalupe Island one of the divers went up to the captain of the "Horizon" and told him "A shark just bit through your anchor line". Knowing how thick the anchor line is, the captain doubted that the shark bit all the way through it and went to the bow, to check things out. There were indeed just a few feet of anchor line dangling over the  rail and just as he got there a shark jumped up, trying to get the rest. .... that is how "Shredder" got his name, he shredded the anchor line.

"Shredder's unique dorsal fin"
Biting anchor lines were not the only thing he was famous for. He loved showing off for our divers. On one particular day, he kept swimming back and forth, just inches from the cages for 7 solid hours. It was during a day, where we couldn't put any attractant or baits into the water. That didn't stop him from checking out our divers all day long.  Swimming by the cages, looking each diver in the eyes, the exactly how he got me hooked on shark diving.

Hi I'm Shredder!
 Another thing that made "Shredder" unique was the fact that he didn't seem to have gotten the memo that great white sharks have a hierarchy based on size. Normally, the smaller sharks defers to the bigger ones, but not Shredder. He was definitely not intimidated by anyone.

Shredder with Dr. "Mau"
He was also a shark that loved to breach! I have seen him do that at least 5 or 6 times.

"Shredder" was at Guadalupe Island from 2001 to 2012 and hasn't been seen since then. I don't know what happened to him. Maybe he got caught by a fishing boat, maybe he didn't defer to a bigger shark and died. I prefer to think that he's still out there, swimming in the vast oceans and will return some day. It's not unprecedented that a shark stays away from Guadalupe for years at a time. We had one show up after an absence of 8 years.

If you want to come out with us and see if "Shredder" returns this season, call us at 855.987.4275 or visit

Let's go shark diving!

Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at


KS Shark Girl said...

It makes me very sad to think something could have happened to Cal. (He was Cal with our crew on the Solmar V). He was so amazing! He was the first shark there when we dropped anchor and he was there all day every day, just cruising past the cages and looking at us. Such an incredible animal. I hope he is okay.

Steve Hutchings said...

Yup, Shredder's a keeper. He's the baddest boy at Guadalupe and never fails to make an appearance and run at the bait. I love him!