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Los Angeles kayaker escapes shark attack unscathed near Santa Barbara beach

A shark's bite marks in Bret Jackson's kayak.
A shark's bite marks in Bret Jackson's kayak.
Bret Jackson
A shark's bite marks in Bret Jackson's kayak.
A shark's bite marks in Bret Jackson's kayak.
Bret Jackson


A shark advisory remains in effect for parts of a Santa Barbara beach after a shark attacked a kayaker Thursday morning and bit into the side of his boat.

Bret Jackson poses with the kayak he was in during a shark attack near a Santa Barbara beach.
Bret Jackson poses with the kayak he was in during a shark attack near a Santa Barbara beach.
Courtesy of Bret Jackson

Los Angeles resident Bret Jackson, 40, was kayaking just east of Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara's East Beach area when an adult great white shark bit into his kayak.

"I just saw its giant freakin' jaws coming right at me. I don't even remember moving my arm, but I must've, because where it landed was right where my arm was, and it was just clunk," Jackson said.

Jackson told KPCC he flipped over and climbed onto his upside-down kayak before paddling to a nearby sailboat and climbing aboard to safety. He said he was lucky to escape without any injuries.

"That thing was attacking to kill. That thing was hungry," he said. "It wasn't a nudge."

The beach is open while the advisory is in effect, but officials suggest that swimmers avoid the area. Steve McCullough, a Harbor Patrol supervisor, told KPCC that a 13-foot shark had been spotted Wednesday about a mile away from the attack.

Jackson said he won't use the kayak in the water ever again, but he won't get rid of it either.

"It’s like a trophy now," he said. "It’s got like a perfect circle shark bite.