A surfer says he had a close encounter with a shark on Sunday in the waters off Kauai's north shore.
The shark chomped on Jeff Horton's surfboard, missing his foot by only inches.
"I thought it was do or die. I thought I was going to die, for real," Horton said.
It happened around 11 a.m. Horton was surfing at Pilaa near the Kilauea Lighthouse.
"The surf was like eight to 10 Hawaiian scale. I was out at the first peak and was with two other guys as far out as I was," Horton said.
"I had my feet dangling, hanging below my surfboard, and I saw this thing coming up. And my instinct was 'whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa,' and the thing comes right up. And I yanked my foot out right where it took the bite. Bit my board and missed my foot. And it flipped me and I rolled on top of it," Horton said.
He says he started punching the shark with all his might.
"It was a very large shark, about 12 feet long," Horton said. "And then I took one shot in the eye and the thing kind of gave up."
Or so he thought. He says the shark followed him as he surfed towards the shore.
"After that, all the waves seemed small to me. I didn't care if they crashed on me or what. I just wanted to make it in," Horton said.
He finally made it to shore in one piece.
"Somebody's watching over me," Horton said.
Horton, who's 25 years old, moved to Kauai from the east coast two years ago.
"And like I've been surfing every day and I never once thought I could be victimized like this. It's crazy," Horton said.
He has some scratches on his knuckles and some rug burns on his legs, but that's it.
And while he says he's traumatized by the whole experience, it's not enough to keep him out of the water.
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