Shark Bites Kayak Leaving Teeth Behind in Terrifying Attack Off California

Shark Bites Kayak Leaving Teeth Behind in Terrifying Attack Off California
A file photo of a great white shark in Gansbaai, South Africa, on Oct. 19, 2009. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Richard Szabo

Two San Diegan men could be forgiven for thinking they are the luckiest pair in the world after surviving a great white shark attack off the shore of Southern California on October 5.

Bill Powers and Danny McDaniel were enjoying what started as a weekend of camping; scuba diving, and kayaking in Camp Emerald Bay at Santa Catalina Island, 29 miles southwest of Long Beach.

While the men were on a typical kayak journey, one of the biggest sharks they had ever seen suddenly attacked them near Ship Rock just after 4:30 p.m. local time.

“An approximately 14-foot-long great white shark chomped down on the back end of Danny’s kayak [and] punctured it, leaving a very wide bite mark, and left two of his teeth in the kayak,” Powers told the San Diego County Dive Reports group on Facebook. “Exciting times for the kayakers.”

Powers confirmed the bite mark measured 19 inches long and was “mere inches from Danny’s butt,” while two teeth the marine creature left behind were each about one and three-quarter inches wide.

“Based on the size of the teeth, the shark may have been even bigger than estimated by the two kayakers,” Powers said on Facebook.

McDaniel was measuring his heart rate at the time and could identify the time the shark attacked as being between 4:30 p.m. and 4:32 p.m. based on the sudden increase in his heart rate to 132 beats per minute.

“I think I pinpointed the exact moment it happened in time,” he said on Facebook. “[Here is a] better graph with [the] exact time and heart rate.”

Powers claims neither of the men deliberately agitated nor bothered the shark, and they were not carrying any food.

“[It was an] unsolicited, unprovoked bite,” he said on Facebook. “[There was] no fish in, or hanging from, the kayak.”

McDaniel did not see any evidence suggesting the shark was disturbed.

“[The shark said] absolutely nothing,” he said on Facebook. “I did say to myself, don’t fall into the water.”

In hindsight, Powers found the attack to be highly unusual and clarified the shark did not bite off a piece of the kayak.

“It would be one thing if it attacked the kayak and tore it to shreds,” he said. “This was a test bite of approximately five seconds, and then it promptly let go and left. [It was] thrilling but not indicative of a monster.”

One Facebook user offered to turn the teeth into jewelry with a chain. Still, McDaniel has a different taste in accessories.

“I appreciate the offer, but Jon Chambers is going to fashion something up with deer leather,” he said.

Richard Szabo is an award-winning journalist with more than 12 years' experience in news writing at mainstream and niche media organizations. He has a specialty in business, tourism, hospitality, and healthcare reporting.
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