Scott Stevens, 25, suffered serious wounds to his left torso from a shark bite while he was surfing at North Jetty, Humboldt, Eureka, California, United States. The shark is thought to be a great white.
The incident occured on Tuesday 30 October 2012.
He said he was catching waves about 150 metres from fellow surfers at Bunkers, a popular surf spot near Humboldt Bay.
The shark dragged him under the water and shook him around a bit. Stevens then punched the shark several times in the head, which made it release its grip and swim away. He managed to retrieve his board and paddle back to shore, where other surfers helped stem the bleeding and wave down a truck which took him to hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery to stitch the wounds.
Stevens told the Lost Coast Outpost in a podcast interview:
“I went in the water for a surf about 10am. I had just caught a wave and was paddling back out when the shark came out of nowhere. It grabbed my torso from behind and dragged me underwater and shook me a couple of times.
“I opened my eyes underwater and saw the shark grabbing onto me. I punched it a couple of times in the head and it released me and swam off.
“I recovered my board (the shark had severed the leash) and managed to paddle to shore on my own.”
He was shouting for help.
“The support of other surfers was amazing. They waved down a truck which took me to hospital. And they put pressure on the wound the whole time to stop bleeding.” One of the surfers actually lay across his torso to put pressure on the wound and stem the bleeding.
He told the Times Standard that when he opened his eyes under water he saw a lot of blood.
“When I reached the beach, I realised how injured I was and how much blood I was losing.”
“I was in shock. I really didn’t feel much, didn’t feel too much pain, until I woke up this morning,” he said.
He said from the time of attack to ER it took about 20 minutes – “An amazing response which helped a lot.”
”Those guys are heroes,” he said.
He said he received lacerations from the top of hip to his upper chest. The surgeon who stitched up the wounds said there were seven to eight deep lacerations, but fortunately the shark did not open the chest cavity and damage any internal organs.
“At the moment it happened I was truly scared for my life. I didn’t know if I was going to make it or not.
“Now I am a little bummed that my surfboard is damaged,” he said from his hospital bed at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka, California.
A brief press report says a 15-year-old girl was Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) boarding with friends about 200 metres offshore of Catalina Island off the coast of California, United States, when a shark bit her board several times. She was not injured.
Eric Tarantino, 27, was surfing with friends Saturday morning, 29 October 2011, at Marina State Beach in Monterey County, California, US, when a 9-foot shark bit him on the neck and right forearm. The shark also left teeth marks on his surfboard. The attack occurred just after 7am.
Tarantino was airlifted to the Regional Medical Center of San Jose.
A witness was quoted as saying: “It was still twilight and Eric and a friend were the first two out there. Within about 10 minutes we saw both of them turn around and start paddling in quickly, and a lot of us who surf here consistently realized right away they must have seen a shark.”
His friend was who was with Eric in the water was quoted as saying: “Eric had paddled a little bit deeper than me, onto the peak. I went up over the top of the wave and as I was coming down I could hear him yelling ‘Shark! Shark!’ And at that point we turned around and started paddling in as fast as we could. Luckily, a few minutes later a set came in and we were able to catch it and ride in on our stomachs.”
He said he turned around and saw Tarantino four feet away. His arm was bleeding badly and the water around him was red with blood.
He helped Tarantino ashore.
“We got to the shore, and there were a couple of guys walking on the beach with their boards and I asked them to call 911.”
They used beach towels to make a tourniquet on his arm and to staunch the bleeding from his neck.
Paramedics arrived about eight minutes later, witnesses said, and treated Tarantino before transporting him to Marina Municipal Airport. From there, he was airlifted to San Jose.
A witness in the parking lot said: “The gash to the top of Eric’s forearm was probably 2 inches long. The two gashes on the wrist area were about 4 to 6 inches. The injury to his neck was 2 inches, but fairly deep. But he was conscious and responsive when people were talking to him and his colour looked good.”
The bite narrowly missed Tarantino’s jugular vein and carotid artery, a hospital spokesperson said.