California kayaker knocked into water by great white shark

A kayaker had a run in with a great white shark off San Mateo County, California.

Pat Conroy and a friend were fishing off Bean Hollow State Beach August 1.

The duo had been fishing in the calm water for about an hour when Conroy started cutting up bait.

That’s when the shark hit and knocked the retired marine scientist into the water.

2017 shark attack bite Bean Hollow State Beach california Pat Conroy
Photo: Pat Conroy

“It hit like a freight train,” he told the Half Moon Bay Review. “I have the image of the shark’s head, three feet out of the water, burned in my brain.”

His life vest was keeping him afloat and once the shark let go of the kayak, Conroy hurried onto the overturned boat.

Once on the boat, he and his fishing partner, Alan Striegle, discussed what to do next.

“The only way I could get the boat turned over was to get back in the water,” he said. “I probably broke a record” righting the boat and getting back inside.

As he was sitting back in the kayak, he saw the water swirling beneath the boat as the shark swam underneath him.

The duo headed back to shore and the incident hasn’t deterred Conroy from the water.

“I went body surfing the very next day,” he said. “I had to. The waves were good.”

While he was worried about sensationalizing the encounter, he has had some positive feedback.

“If there is a silver lining in all this, it’s that when people I know hear about what happened, the women want to hug me, and the guys want to buy me a beer,” he said. “I’ll take that.”

There has been one confirmed shark attack bite and six reported encounters with paddle sport vessels, all with no physical injury, reported in California this year.

Leeanne Ericson was severely injured by a shark while swimming in the surf line off San Onofre State Beach on April 29.

The 35-year-old mother of three was hanging onto her boyfriends surfboard when they saw a pinniped jump out of the water.

She then felt something brush against her fins, but thought it was a stingray.  Her boyfriend wanted to catch a wave, so she let go of the board.

The shark then struck and bit into her right buttock and leg.

Related: What you can do if you come face to face with a shark.

She was able to push her fingers into the shark’s eye, causing it to release its grip.  Her boyfriend and other beach goers were able to get her to shore and into a waiting ambulance.  She survived and is still recovering from the incident.

Kayaker Brian Correiar was knocked into the water near Pacific Grove around 4:30 p.m. on March 18.  A video of the incident shows the shark dragging the kayak across the surface of the water.

Steve Lawson was knocked into the water by a great white off West Cliff and Pelton Avenue on July 11. He held onto the kayak until he was rescued by the Santa Cruz Harbor Patrol.

Two interactions occurred near Santa Barbara on July 20.  Bret Jackson was 350 feet east of Stearns Wharf when a shark grabbed the side of his kayak. The shark pushed the boat sideways for a few feet before capsizing it.

Jackson was rescued and his kayak had a nearly 16-inch-wide bite mark on it.

Earlier that day, around 8 a.m., a stand-up paddleboarder had a similar encounter with a 7- to 8-foot-long juvenile white shark off More Mesa Beach.

“The shark came up from the bottom and bit the nose of the board,” said Santa Barbara County’s aquatics coordinator Jon Menzies.

The shark bit the nose off the paddleboard, before returning and biting the rail of the board leaving a 7-inch-wide bite mark on the board.

All locations and the other encounters have been marked on the 2017 Shark Attack Bites Tracking map.


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