Safety

Kayaker attacked by great white shark near Stearns Wharf

Bite marks and punctures left on small boat

Kayak attacked by shark near Stearns...

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A kayaker reported an attack by a shark on the east side of Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara shortly before 11:30 a.m. Thursday morning.

"The puncture marks went all the way around the top and bottom," Bret Zodtner Jackson told NewsChannel 3.

The 6 foot tall kayaker said he splits his time between Los Angeles and Las Vegas and was in Santa Barbara visiting family. He displayed the full bite mark to the NewsChannel 3 crew, which wrapped from the top of the rail of the kayak around to the bottom. Jackson said his arm was leaning on the rail at the time. Fortunately he wasn't hurt, but he was shaken. 

"I never saw the whole thing, only saw its frigging wide open jaws ... the first thing I saw was it's nose, wide-open jaw coming right at me!"

At one point, Santa Barbara City Fire staged personnel for a water rescue but never went in the water. Jackson said he was able to wave down a nearby sailboat and a man named Nick threw a rubber dingy overboard and rushed over to rescue him. 

"There's a bunch of people watching," Jackson said.

Jackson told Harbor Patrol officials that he could only see the head of the shark but thought it was very large.

"It grabbed me and then it drove me sideways, flipped me over .. I ended up on the bottom of the kayak which was out of the water."

The teeth of the shark punctured the plastic kayak leaving a 15-inch diameter mark and quickly filled the kayak with water.

Jackson told NewsChannel 3 that a shark expert stopped by to measure the bite mark and confirmed it was made by an 11 to 13 foot great white shark, the size of an adult male. Female great whites are even larger. 

NewsChannel 3 asked Jackson if the ocean encounter will keep him out of the water.

"This won't ever happen again to me," Jackson replied. 

Jackson's attack came shortly after Santa Barbara County Parks rangers confirmed a shark attack east of Goleta Beach Thursday morning. In that case, officials said the paddleboarder's board was bitten while paddling a half mile out from Seal Rock, just down from Goleta Beach. The shark was estimated to be an 8-foot great white shark.

"The shark ‘came from the depths’ and bit the paddleboard's nose completely off which knocked the paddler in the water. The shark returned and bit the rail of the board before submerging and was not seen again. The paddleboarder paddled his board to shore and was completely unscathed," said a County Parks official in a statement.

The County posted warning signs at Goleta Beach for the next 72 hours.

No further details were immediately known. We will update this story as soon as new information becomes available.


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