Veteran Open Water Swimmer Stephen Robles Attacked By Great White Shark off California Coast

Experienced open water swimmer, and former LA County Lifeguard, Steve Robles was attacked by a great white shark while swimming off the coast of Southern California on Saturday, according to several local media reports.

Robles was swimming near Manhattan Beach in California with a group of friends on a 2-mile swim when a great white shark attacked the right side of his chest. He was able to pry the shark’s jaws open just enough to escape; after a rescue, he was then rushed to a local hospital, where he is recovering, and is reported to be “stable” condition.

The shark that committed the attack had been hooked by a fisherman, who was trying to reel it in for an estimated 30-40 minutes around 9AM on Saturday morning. By law, when a fisherman can identify that they’ve got a great white shark hooked, they’re supposed to cut their line.

Robles is reported to have never lost consciousness and is breathing on his own.

Robles made headlines last summer by completing what he referred to as “the swim from hell” – a 13-hour swim from Catalina Island to the mainland coast and specifically Trump National Golf Club. That swim left him hospitalized as well with hypothermia and perhaps a mild heart attack, according to the Daily Breeze.

That 21-mile swim is one of the most famous organized channel swims in the United States, and is recognized as one of the “Ocean’s seven,” a famous collection of 7 swims that if successfully completed, puts its conqueror into marathon swimming lore. The Ocean’s seven was not successfully completed by one swimmer until 2012.

Robles’ day job is as a real estate broker.

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6 years ago

Amazingly, the morning national news stations made this attack full blown. What they didn’t do was review that he was a very experienced open water swimmer, and cite his Catalina swim. What they did do was slide in comments eluding that he was in a location where should not have been. They even showed a quick interview. Hmmmm…… Sensationalism and not the full story.

Speedy recovery to Mr. Robles.

6 years ago

I recommend not swimming near fishing piers.

6 years ago

I don’t think anyone here, in the LA/ Southbay area, really wants to swim near a fishing pier when they train for open water. But, what most people don’t realize is that there are piers about every 2 miles down the beach. From Santa Monica heading south, the Santa Monica Pier, Venice Pier, then the break wall and the channel into the marina (which isn’t safe to really swim across because of the boat traffic), Manhattan Beach Pier, Hermosa Pier then Redondo Harbor/ Pier. So regardless of where you are, if you’re going to cover any distance, there is a pier nearby. During the summer, there are a lot of open water training groups, open water races, as well as… Read more »

Reply to  Tamara Muth-King
6 years ago

…and it’s a great way of life! Thank you for your empathetic input. A lot of OW swimmers are pro-shark conservation; I am relieved to know that the shark has a good excuse….being wrangled for half hour is plenty of excuse to feel like taking a non-lethal bite out of a human.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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