Teen Surfer Fights Off Great White Shark During Attack: 'I Was Like, Wow, This Is New'

Nick Wapner survived a shark attack in California

Nick Wapner believes his surfboard helped saved his life.

A teen miraculously survived being attacked by a great white shark in California. 

Nick Wapner, 19, has been surfing for years but he’d never had an encounter like he did Tuesday morning when a giant shark bit into his legs and ankles while he was surfing off the central California coast.

“I just felt like this tremendous pressure around my ankles and my legs,” Wapner told KCOY. "I was like, 'Wow … OK ... this is new.'"

The shark bit through his wet suit and booties. Wapner believes it was his surfboard, which the shark also bit, that saved his life. 

The teen was able to kick the 15-foot shark’s head a few times to defend himself before it let him go, he said. His friends then rushed him to the hospital.

Wapner needed 50 stitches but thankfully the shark missed his main arteries.

Experts say it’s unusual to have a shark attack occur in January in that area, but one theory is that sharks sometimes mistake people for food.

"I mean you are basically trespassing in their world," Wapner said. "It's definitely like a traumatic experience but I mean I spend so much time in the ocean and it's such a big part of my life that I don't think I'm going to stop surfing."