Kayaker Thrown Into Water After Great White Shark Attacks Boat

"I panicked, everyone panics. There’s a shark in the water."

A California kayaker has recalled a hair-raising encounter with a great white shark that left him scrambling in the water.

Steve Lawson of Santa Cruz was paddling about a quarter mile out from shore on Tuesday morning when he said an abrupt bump left him face-to-face with the shark.

“It felt like I hit a rock. I looked forward and there was a shark holding the front of my boat. He let go and I went over,” Lawson told local station KPIX. 

“I spent a little time in the water swimming around. I panicked, everyone panics. There’s a shark in the water. But he didn’t come back. He wasn’t interested in me,” he told KSBW.

Fortunately for him, he added: “I never saw the shark again. I’m sure it was a mistake on his part.”

Lawson managed to call for help on a marine radio, KRON reported.

The cry for help alerted the Santa Cruz Fire Department at about 11 a.m., the city said. A photo shared on Facebook by Santa Cruz police shows Lawson standing with two officers. Beside them can be seen some of his damaged boat.

“The kayaker was uninjured in the attack, but the kayak sustained extensive damage,” the police department posted with their photo.

Authorities went on to announce that as a precaution, beach access points within a one-mile radius of the attack will be closed until Saturday morning. 

In a statement, Santa Cruz Fire Chief Jim Frawley stressed that though there are always risks of sharks in the water, “attacks like these are extremely rare in Santa Cruz County, and we are so thankful that the kayaker was uninjured.

“This is a reminder that swimming in the ocean does carry some risk and we encourage all swimmers, surfers, and kayakers to be mindful of their surroundings and follow directions of lifeguards and Marine Safety staff,” he said.