A surfer in California had a very close call with a shark and managed to escape unscathed – but the same can’t be said for her surfboard.
Elinor Dempsey, 54, was floating on her board near Morro Bay around 10 a.m. on Saturday when a great white shark took a great big bite out of her board – 13½ inches wide, 8 inches deep and bigger than her head.
“I m still in shock but doing OK,” she told the San Luis Obispo Tribune from her home in Los Osos. “It was a pretty eventful morning.”
She Dempsey was in about 2 feet of water when she saw a dark figure swim beneath her. “And next thing I knew [the shark’s] body was right here. Like, literally, next to me,” she told KSBY-TV.
“First I thought it was a dolphin and I thought, ‘What the hell is he doing?'” she tells the Tribune. “And he kind of landed on my board. Then I realized he had taken a chunk. And I was, like, that s not what dolphins do.”
She estimates the shark was 8 feet long.
Dempsey had been in the water for about 30 minutes when she had the life-threatening encounter.
“I saw her being tumbled off her board and the shark underneath the board,” said Jamie Bettencourt, a surfer who saw the whole thing unfold. “So it was kind of a tangle of her and the board and the leash and the shark – dark gray fin and tail. And she was yelling and the shark went under and swam away.”
Bettencourt and a friend began yelling at beach-goers, warning them to get out of the water.
Now out of harm’s way, Dempsey said she has one regret.
“I didn t get a wave,” she told the Tribune “That s the worst part – I got no waves.”
Signs were immediately posted after the shark attack, instructing people to stay out of the water for 72 hours.
This California incident is the latest in a string of shark attacks over the summer summer.
About two weeks ago a 10-year-old Florida girl was injured while defending herself against a shark – she was hailed a hero for heading back to the water to rescue her 6-year-old friend.
That same week, a a 15-year-old boy was also bitten by a shark in South Carolina. He suffered bite marks to his leg and hand.
Pro surfer Mick Fanning, 34, famously made headlines twice for fighting off a shark; once during a live surfing competition in South Africa on July 19 and again when he returned to the water in August in Hastings Point, Australia.
In July, former boxing champ from Australia, Craig Ison, 52, was attacked by a great white at Evans Head and repeatedly punched the shark until it backed off.