Nick Wapner a San Luis Obispo surfer survives a shark attack along California’s Montana de Oro State Park. Ends up with 50 stitches.
A surfer has told of surviving a shark attack while taking on the waves at California’s Central Coast– albeit being left no less than 50 stitches after managing to kick the predator away.
Nick Wapner, 19, was bitten Tuesday morning while surfing with friends off Montana de Oro State Park, the Tribune of San Luis Obispo reported. The area is about 200 miles (320 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.
Park Ranger Supervisor Robert Colligan said Wapner reported being attacked by a 15-foot (4.6-meter) great white shark that clamped down on his right ankle and then up to his left thigh.
Wapner said the shark came up from beneath him as he paddled into position for an incoming wave.
‘It all happened quickly, but I turned and saw that it had one of my legs in its mouth,’ Wapner said. ‘The thing was huge.’
Nick Wapner San Luis Obisp surfer: ‘I’m happy to be alive, I got off really lucky.’
Wapner said the shark thrashed and bit down on his legs for about a second before he was able to kick hard and wrangle free. The shark turned and swam away.
Wapner said he screamed to his friends on shore: ‘I just got attacked by a shark!’
He paddled in and one of his friends drove him to the hospital, where he got 50 stitches before being discharged.
‘I’m happy to be alive,’ he told via KCOY-TV. ‘I’m still in shock. I got off really lucky.’
‘Between that and the amount of foam and fiberglass that he probably got in his mouth, that probably wasn’t too tasty and so I think he figured he’d be better off just letting me go,’ Wapner said.
Wapner, a student at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, said he believes the shark was biting out of curiosity and realized the object in its mouth wasn’t the taste it was looking for.
As a longtime surfer who grew up in the Los Angeles area, Wapner said the possibility of a shark attack occasionally crossed his mind but it never seemed like a reality. He said he plans to continue surfing, adding that ‘it’s such a big part of my life.’
‘I know I’ll continue to surf,’ he said. ‘But I’ll just take it one day at a time.’