Surfer escapes shark attack by punching it in the head

Surfer escapes shark attack by punching it in the headPA

A US surfer managed to escape a great white shark by punching it on the side of the head.

Scott Stephens, 24, was padding on his board off the coast of Eureka, California, when the four-foot shark grabbed him and pulled him under water.

Sky News reports that he believed the shark to be an immature great white. Although he was left with eight deep lacerations, he managed to fight off the shark, get back on his board and return to shore.

Other surfers came to his aid when they heard him screaming for help, and he was taken to St Joseph Hospital. Doctors said that he was probably saved by his surfboard, which took the brunt of the bite, preventing the shark's teeth from penetrating organs that would have made surgery more complicated.

He told local news service Times-Standard: "The shark came from underneath me, grabbed onto my side, shook me a few times and pulled me under water.

"I opened my eyes underwater and punched the shark on the side of the head a couple of times until it released me. I saw a lot of blood."

He added: "I really didn't feel much at the time probably because I was in shock. I didn't feel too much pain until I woke up this morning."

But despite his ordeal, Mr Stephens said he will be getting back in the water as soon as he has recovered.

He said: "I will be very scared, I'm sure. I'll definitely have some mental barriers to get through. I think it'll be worth it."

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Surfer escapes shark attack by punching it in the head

The Canary Islands' 'windy isle' Fuerteventura is a haven for surfers of all abilities, welcoming flocks of enthusiasts in search of sunshine and swell. Advanced surfers should head to the largest beach on the island, Playa del Hierro for its good tubes and intense shallow waves, but watch out for the hidden reef. Beginners should check out El Cotillo, where surf lessons are available, before progressing to the northern shores for its many unridden spots. There are surf schools and equipment hire shops throughout the island and if you're looking for a young and vibrant surfing crowd, this is the place to find it!

With waves reaching a staggering 35 feet high, surfers will love riding them throughout the island of Puerto Rico during its surfing season, which runs from October to May. The once-sleepy town of Rincon Bay on the west coast is the best-loved spot, providing the best of both worlds - the rough Atlantic and the gentle Caribbean - at its six beaches. Since hosting the World Surfing Championships in 1968, Rincon became known as the surfing capital of the Caribbean and surfers from all over come to experience its fast and furious offshore waves.

For top surfing in Europe, the coastal town of Ericeira, 50 kilometres north of Lisbon has the fabulous Praia da Foz do Lizandro, Praia de Sao Lourenco, Praia de Sao Sebastiao and Praia da Ribeira d'ilhas beaches that are ideal for surfing, skimming and bodyboarding. In 2011, Ericeira was awarded a World Surfing Reserve site for its fantastic surfing conditions and you can see the World Surfing Championship contest in Ribeira d'ilhas Beach every year. You'll find a variety of waves for experts and beginners in Ericeira, and within just a few miles of coastline find reef, point and beach breaks for the perfect surf set-up.

Just an hour's drive south of San Francisco is Santa Cruz and its World Surfing Reserve, which boasts seven miles of protected coastal waters for surfers to enjoy. The sport arrived in the area in 1885 when three Hawaiian princes practiced board wave riding here and today big wave surfers come from all over the world to ride the Mavericks - the famous surfing break with some of the biggest waves and wildest surf conditions in North America. Beginners should head to Capitola Beach or Cowell's for perfect longboard waves, Natural Bridges is ideal for scenic surfing and 36th and East Cliff offer a good variety of conditions for all abilities. As well as being the home of Jack O'Neill, who invented the wetsuit and is CEO of the O'Neill brand, Santa Cruz hosts the O'Neill Cold Water Classic every year, where the world's top surfers battle it out to win the ASP World Title series.

If you're a hardcore surfer in search of major swells, beautiful scenery and top quality surfing, Sumatra in Indonesia offers world-class conditions. In Aceh you'll find undiscovered surf spots that are perfect for experienced surfers. The Mentawai Islands off the coast of West Sumatra have plenty of beautiful waves and although Sumatra is best suited to advanced surfers, Air Manis Beach has a good, safe beach break, which is ideal if you're learning to surf.

As South Africa's surfing capital, Jeffreys Bay attracts the surfing elite and hosts the local leg of the Billabong Pro World Championship Tour event every July. The waves at this surfer's paradise, located just an hour's drive from Port Elizabeth, reach an awesome one to three metres at this time of year putting them in the top ten swells around. Apart from offering great waves, you can relax on the pristine Dolphin Beach, for a glorious day in the sun.

As the birthplace of surfing, Hawaii has numerous spots on each of its islands for surfers to hit the waves. Tunnels Beach and Hanalei Bay on Kauai's north shores are where you can enjoy the best surfing and stand-up paddle boarding. On Oahu, head to Waikiki Beach on the south shore, where ancient Hawaiian royalty used to show off their skills at a time when surfing was known as the 'sport of kings'. Another surfing paradise in Oahu is Waimea Bay on the north shore, which is well-liked for big wave surfing. Honolua Bay and Hookipa Beach on Maui are where you can watch the pro surfers in action and Peahi is the island's most famous spot, which sees surfers towed into its massive waves by jet-skis during big swells. There are surfing schools and less-intimidating spots throughout the islands for beginners and countless stunning beaches for relaxing when you run out of steam!

With glorious beaches, amazing food and high quality waves, head to Hossegor on the west coast of France, which is known to avid surfers for being one of Europe's most famous surf towns and boasts world-class tubes. The tubes here rival those in Hawaii but without the coral and people come from miles to watch surfers riding them. Further down the coast around half an hour away is the glamorous seaside town of Biarritz, which is popular for surfing all year around with the wild North Atlantic swells making their way down to the Bay of Biscay.

This small village in southern Morocco was discovered by hippies in the 1960s and makes for an affordable and unique surf holiday. There's an excellent variety of beach breaks, points and reefs for all abilities and world-class surfing conditions thanks to the consistent north west swells generated from the North Atlantic. The best time for experienced surfers is between September and April with the summer months being ideal for beginners. The relaxed atmosphere, exotic setting and fabulous waves make Taghazoute a true surfer's dream.

Famed for its quality and variety, Margaret River in Western Australia has more than 40 places to surf along its coast, turquoise waters and pristine white sand beaches. Here surfers can pull in the perfect barrels and make radical snaps off the top. Surfer's Point, which hosts the Drug Aware Pro Margaret River held every year around March, offers powerful ground swells and awesome waves. Advanced surfers should head to The Box, North Point, Smiths and Three Bears for the most challenging waves. As the ocean temperature stays consistent throughout the year you can surf here pretty much any time and there are several surf schools in the region for novices.


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