Sharks bite paddleboard and kayak near Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara, California great white bite

Thursday saw some serious shark activity off the coast of Santa Barbara, California.

Bret Jackson was kayaking July 20 around 350 feet east of Stearns Wharf, when a great white shark came from below and bit his kayak from the side.

“It came out of nowhere, and the first thing I saw was a giant jaw near my face,” Jackson told Noozhawk. “It was fast, and the shark was hungry.”

“It bit on to the kayak next to my arm and side, dove me on the kayak sideways a few feet then flipped (me) over.

He said the incident only lasted a few seconds.

“The only thing I saw was its face in my face, clamping down and then shoving me sideways,” he told the LA Times.

“Yeah, it was … big, it was right in my face. It was a great white — gray on top, white on bottom, black eyes.”

Jackson was flipped upside down in the water and had no idea where the estimated 8-foot great white shark was.

“I was in for a couple of seconds, I don’t know, I scrambled, completely flipped over. I got out somehow and was on the bottom side of my kayak, which was out of the water,” Jackson said. “The kayak is 9 feet long and I’m 6-3 and I have my arms tucked in.”

Santa Barbara, California great white bite
Photo: Bret Jackson

He held onto the bottom of the water filled kayak and pulled out a knife he carried with him for emergencies.

The shark never came back and Jackson was able to flag down a sailboat, whose owner jumped into a motorized dingy and met Jackson in the water as he swam towards it.

The two took hauled the kayak back to the sail boat. Harbor Patrol were notified around 11:20 a.m. that someone in the water was calling for help and were able to transport Jackson and his kayak back to shore.

shark attack bite Stearns Wharf Santa Barbara, California 072017_Bret_Jackson_1
Photo: Bret Jackson

The kayak had a nearly 16-inch-wide bite mark left from the adult shark, which appears to have been investigating the kayak to see if it was food. Once the shark determined the kayak was not prey, it left the area.

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.

The man in his 50s, who has requested privacy,  was unhurt, and was able to paddle his board back to shore.

Warning signs have been placed near the location of the incident and will remain up for four days.

There have been two other kayaks bitten by sharks off the California coastline this year.  Steve Lawson was in Monterey Bay when the front of his kayak was bitten July 11.  Brian Correiar was in the same area March 18, when his kayak was hit.

One confirmed shark attack occurred off the coast. Leeanne Ericson was bitten by a shark while swimming off San Onofre State Beach April 29.

There have been a total of 58* shark attack bites in 2017, 5 of which were fatal*; 27 were reported in the US, with 19 occurring in Florida** and one in Hawaii. Nine occurred in Australia, one of which was fatal and one with no injury.  Three unconfirmed worldwide and not included in the total count.

All locations have been marked on the 2017 Shark Attack Bites Tracking Map.

*Two may be scavenge.    **One report may have been outside of Florida waters.

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