‘Petrifying’ shark attack leaves a California kayaker with some scary souvenirs

A San Diego kayaker who felt a strange push Saturday off the Southern California coast got the shock of a lifetime when he looked to see what was going on, KNSD reported.

Giant great white shark a foot from my boot,” said Danny McDaniel, KGTV reported. “His upper half was out of the water, his dorsal fin was out of the water.”

His diving and kayaking partner, Jon Chambers, had spotted the 19-foot shark a few seconds earlier as it chomped down on McDaniel’s 9-foot kayak in the Pacific Ocean off Santa Catalina Island, according to the station.

“He was in attack mode,” Chambers said, KNSD reported. “He thought we were prey. It was petrifying and amazing at the same time.”

The shark hung onto McDaniel’s kayak for a few seconds, then “lost interest” and swam away, according to the station.

“I don’t think he took a full chomp,” McDaniel said, KGTV reported. “I think he just took a nibble and pushed.”

After recovering from their fright, which left them “literally frozen,” the kayakers discovered the shark had left behind souvenirs — two enormous teeth, according to the station. McDaniel also tried to buy the rented kayak, but the owners declined to sell.

“It was a good experience that I would never want to do again, but it was a good experience,” said McDaniel, KNSD reported.

Shark attacks are statistically fairly rare. Statista reports 66 unprovoked shark attacks worldwide in 2018, with four deaths, down from 88 attacks with five deaths in 2017.

The Florida Museum reports that an additional 34 shark attacks in 2018 were provoked. The museum says 32 of the total shark attacks took place in the U.S. and nine worldwide shark attacks were on boats, like McDaniel’s kayak.

In Australia over the weekend, a shark knocked a surfer into the water and took a bite from his surfboard, The Daily Telegraph reported.

“The sheer power of the thing, it felt like I was getting hit by a bus,” said Mike Bruton, 29, who suffered some soreness, according to the publication.

“It’s just very lucky it got my board and not me,” Bruton added, 9News reported. It’s not clear what kind of shark attacked Bruton.

In Hawaii, shark warning signs have been posted off Oahu after sightings of hammerhead sharks, Hawaii News Now reported.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.