A Great White Nibble Leaves Surfer with 50-Stitches and a Story

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2018 was a sharky year and 2019 is shaping up to be no different. At around 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning, 19-year-old Nick Wapner was surfing Sandspit Beach along California’s central coast when he felt a strong pressure around his legs. He looked back as his board was being driven out of the water to see the mouth of a great white shark closing around his ankles. He later said the head of the estimated 15-foot long shark was around three to four feet with massive jaws and beady black eyes.

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Luckily, he was able to wiggle his legs free from the sharks mouth, regain his composure and catch the next wave in. Nick believes that the shark was actually in the process of loosening its grasp on his legs which helped contribute to his relatively easy escape. Nick said he thought that “between the fiberglass board and me, it realized pretty quickly I wasn’t a seal” and that he harbors no ill-will towards the fish. “I don’t hate sharks now or anything,” Nick stated. “We are in their home when we’re out there in the ocean. Sharks are part of the natural environment, and they help maintain a healthy ocean environment.”

Related: These Sharks Hanging With Surfers is Scary Cool

Jaws notwithstanding, great whites aren't out to attack humans, but they will unfortunately mistake surfers for seals, their main food source. Nick, who received 50 stitches and has already been released from the hospital, told the The San Luis Obispo Tribune, that he'll continue to surf, but that for now he plans to “just take it one day at a time.”

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