Surfer Escapes Shark By Punching It In The Head

A surfer fought off a shark by punching it on the side of the head - seconds after it had bitten him.

The attack in Eureka, California left Scott Stephens with eight deep lacerations, according to the Times-Standard .

The 25-year-old was paddling on his board 150 yards further out than other surfers when the shark grabbed him and pulled him under water.

He estimates the creature was four feet long and believes it was a juvenile great white.

"The shark came from underneath me, grabbed onto my side, shook me a few times and pulled me under water," he told reporters from his hospital bed.

"I opened my eyes under water 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 was able to get back onto his board and return to the shore.

Fellow surfers came to his aid when they heard him screaming for help and took him to St Joseph Hospital.

"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," he said.

Doctors said the surfboard probably took some of the brunt of the bite, possibly keeping the shark's teeth from penetrating organs that would have made surgery riskier and more complicated.

Despite the traumatic experience, Mr Stephens said it will not keep him out of the water.

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