It was a perfect day for surfing. Except for the shark. Jay Scrivner, a 45-year-old college English teacher, was waiting for waves off the Northern California coast near his hometown of Eureka on Sunday morning when a great white shark he estimated at about 8- to 9-feet-long bit his thigh and board. "Sometimes you have a feeling that the water is weird," Scrivner tells the AP in a phone interview from his room at Eureka's St. Joseph Hospital yesterday. "But everyone was just so happy. I was lying on my board, paddling around just waiting for a wave set."
Scrivner regularly surfs at the spot near Humboldt Bay known as the Samoa Peninsula. He was aware that another surfer, Scott Stephens, survived a shark attack in the same area last year. Scrivner said that "out of nowhere" he saw the shark's teeth and nose. After he was bitten, he took a swing at the great white and let out what a friend nearby described as a primordial yell. "I couldn't believe it happened," Scrivner said. "When I turned away from the shark, I said, 'Did I really get bit?' Your mind doesn't believe it." He adds, "What's strange about it was how amazing the morning was, how everyone was having a good time, and then the dichotomy." Also amazing: The bite wound on his left thigh did not sever an artery or damage any tendons, and all he needed was about 30 stitches. "If you're going to get bitten by a shark, I had the best scenario," he says. (Read more shark attack stories.)