Surfer punches shark to stop attack

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EUREKA, Calif. — A 25-year-old surfer who was bitten by a shark in Humboldt County on Tuesday said he punched the shark to get away.

”I opened my eyes underwater and punched the shark on the side of the head until it released me,” Scott Stephens told the Times-Standard newspaper. “I saw a lot of blood.”

He said he managed to ride a wave back to shore.

He was recovering from injuries he suffered in the attack but was up and around Wednesday at a local hospital

Stephens was bitten shortly before noon Tuesday while surfing the North Jetty near Eureka Municipal Airport, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department said.

Stephens suffered a 14-inch wound and other injuries. He was loaded into a pickup truck by other surfers and taken to a hospital, authorities said.

The attack came after a 39-year-old surfer died last week after being bitten by an apparent great white shark while riding waves near Lompoc.

Witnesses who were in the water told the Times-Standard that they heard the victim shouting for help. He appeared to be in shock as surfers tried to stop the bleeding on the shore.

“He was going ‘Oh, my God, oh, my God,'” Jason Gabriel said.

photo shows the man’s surfboard with a large bite mark.