"It's the ocean, it's where sharks live. I just saw schools of dolphin this morning," he said. "I was already done when the warning came out on Friday, but if I hadn't been, and the surf was good, I probably would've taken the fine and stayed out there."
Lifeguards said the medium-sized crowd at Mission Beach was fairly consistent with what they expected as the summer season winds down.
"Earlier, I wasn't quite sure whether there would be a lot of in-water activity but (this afternoon) there's been quite a bit," said San Diego lifeguard Lt. Nick Lerma. "We didn't expect the crowds to be heavy because people have turned the chapter from beach attendance to school.
"I think there's a certain level of sophistication with the beach crowd. People who approached me didn't seem to be intimidated or have a great deal of trepidation."
Patricia Clayton, who was in town from Riverside, didn't let her six- and seven-year-old grandsons put on swimsuits for their beach visit. Instead, the boys wore shorts and T-shirts and were instructed to only get their feet wet. But that didn't last very long.
"Look at them, their clothes are soaked," she laughed. "I'd be afraid if they were out there trying to surf. But here on the wet sand, it's OK."
Lerma emphasized that his crew was going to remain on alert throughout the weekend for any possible signs of further shark appearances.
While the lifeguards are happy to take reports from members of the public who may believe they have seen a shark, such sightings are not the most reliable way to gauge whether the waters are safe, he added.
"Taking reports from the public could be a little dicey," he said. "If we closed the beach every time someone thought they saw a shark, we'd be closed a lot of the time. There are a lot of fins out there, and a lot belong to dolphins, porpoises and seals.
"Seals like to bask in the sun, and one of their fins will stick straight up, which can look an awful lot like a shark. It's all about interviewing people and asking a lot of questions to determine their ability to discern between the different fins."