California teen surfer fends off great white shark, gets 50 stitches

A California teen who was surfing off the state’s Central Coast Tuesday morning was left with 50 stitches and a state of shock after a 15-foot great white shark clamped down on his right ankle and left thigh before the teen managed to kick the massive fish away, The Tribune of San Luis Obispo reported.

Nick Wapner, 19, said he was surfing with friends off Montana de Oro State Park -- about 200 miles northwest of Los Angeles – when the attacked occurred, according to the report.

Wapner told Tribune that the shark came up from beneath him as he paddled into position for an incoming wave. He said the shark thrashed and bit down on his legs for about a second before he was able to fend off the beast.


Wapner said he paddled in and one of his friends drove him to the hospital, where he got 50 stitches before being discharged, adding that he is “still in shock,” but happy to be alive.

“I know I’ll continue to surf,” Wapner said, undeterred. “But I’ll just take it one day at a time.”

Park Ranger Supervisor Robert Colligan said the shark's bite might have been "exploratory ... as sharks will sometimes do. The shark might have bitten, and then realized it wasn't what it was looking for and let go."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.