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May 16, 2012

Great White Shark Attacks Kayak Fisherman Off Central California

Surprise attack overturns kayak, but leaves angler unharmed.

A great white shark attacked and overturned a kayak carrying a fisherman off the central coast of California last Saturday, May 12, 2012, according to a report on the regional news website, ksby.com. Though badly shaken, the angler, Joey Nocchi of Paso Robles, California, was not physically injured, the website reported.

Nocchi and two fellow kayakers had launched from Leffingwell Landing in Cambria, and paddled north to do some fishing. They were making their way back to shore after catching some fish when the attack occurred, according to ksby.com. “I got hit from the bottom and it sounded like somebody hit my kayak with a baseball bat,” Nocchi told the website.

Nocchi and his friends identified the fish as a 15-foot great white shark, and when it attacked, it flung Nocchi out of the plastic boat and into the water. The shark also punctured the kayak with a powerful bite, ksby.com reported.

Once in the water, Nocchi actually touched the shark. “His tail came across me and I felt his skin on my hands, and it was a pretty crazy, eerie feeling," he told ksby.com. After that, the shark retreated to deeper water, said Nocchi, who scrambled back into the punctured kayak and paddled furiously to shore before it could swamp.

According to reports from local surfers, elephant seals have been frequenting the beaches in the area recently, leading some to believe the great white shark mistook the kayak silhouette for an elephant seal and wanted to check it out.

Despite it all, Nocchi told ksby.com that he will go kayak fishing again, but he's giving it a few days. “Got that out of the way, so probably shouldn't happen again,” he said.