Close Encounters Man vs. Nature

Surfer with boxing skills fights off attacking shark

Jeff Horton says he landed about eight blows in persuading large predator to back off; board now has a crescent-shaped bite, an inch deep

attacking shark

Jeff Horton’s surfboard, with visible bite marks, is now a souvenir. Photo by Neil Edmands

A surfer on the Hawaiian island of Kauai claims to have used boxing skills to fend off an attacking shark that bit into his board, narrowly missing his leg.

Jeff Horton (pictured at right) was surfing earlier this week at Pila’a Beach near Kilauea. He told the Garden Island that he saw the shark, presumably a tiger shark, swimming toward him as he sat on his board.

“It came flying straight toward me,” he said.

Upon impact, Horton rolled off of his board and onto the shark, which he briefly rode before unleashing a barrage of punches.

“I started punching as hard as I could,” he said, adding that he landed about eight blows and caused the shark to back off with a knuckle punch to the eye.

Horton said he used to be a boxer, and that he was just reacting instinctively.

“I was pretty scared,” he said.

There were about 10 others in the water, watching the chaotic incident, and many others on the beach, 200 yards away.

Horton managed to climb back onto his board and paddle ashore. Aside from abrasions on his hands, he was not injured. The surfboard is left with a crescent-shaped bite mark, an inch deep.

attacking shark

Tiger shark photo is generic. Courtesy of Wikipedia

Horton told the Garden Island that he was greeted with a group hug on the beach, and that a tourist gave him $50 and told him to go celebrate.

The surfer presumably complied, and said he’ll be hanging the board on his wall as a souvenir.

Will Horton continue to paddle out on another board?

“I’ll surf the rest of my life,” he said.

–Find Pete Thomas on Facebook and Twitter