Saturday, August 18, 2007

Great White shark gnaws on kayak but but not owner

A man fishing off an isolated Northern California beach was tossed out of his kayak when a great white shark attacked the tiny boat.

Dan Prather scrambled back onto the kayak and paddled furiously to shore with the help of another boater. The attack left deep gnaw marks on the boat.

The attack occurred July 21 off Bean Hollow State Beach, some 20 miles south of Half Moon Bay, where about 18 kayakers launched around 7 a.m. before splitting into two groups.

"Everyone had been fishing for a while - for a good two, three hours," said John Dale of Foster City, a member of the kayak fishermen's club. "From what he told me, basically he was fishing and was adjusting a lure, and all of a sudden he was thrown from his kayak into the water.

"When he came up, he thought he had been hit by a boat - but when he looked, the shark was still on the front of his kayak, latched on, gnawing on the kayak," Dale said. "He thought about it for a second and decided he better get back onto the kayak, even though it was still on the nose."

Prather scrambled back into his kayak, but the force of the attack had knocked his seat loose and he fell out two more times. The shark swam away, leaving Prather's kayak with multiple scratches and punctures in its bottom.

While Prather's friends said he's not ready to talk publicly about the attack, they said the San Leandro resident never lost his cool or his sense of humor during the ordeal.
"He told me, I caught a couple fish ... and a shark," Dale recalled.


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