Bay Area Kayaker Survives Great White Attack

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A kayaker off the San Mateo coast was just inches from a fatal chomp. (Published Tuesday, Aug 17, 2010)

    A Bay Area kayaker lived a real life shark tale and survived to talk about it.

    Adam Coca, 45, came face-to-face with a great white shark over the weekend while kayaking near Pigeon Point off the San Mateo Coast. The Pinole resident was fishing in his kayak near Bean Hollow State Beach, in an area known as the "Red Triangle," where great white shark sightings are not uncommon when the shark chomped down onto the bottom of his 13-foot boat with its sharp teeth.

    "I guess I'm falling out and the kayak is being pushed right onto my chest right here." Coca demonstrated for us. "So I am ultimately like this -- hanging onto the kayak -- and he's up there and I guess my feet are just dangling like this in the water."

    Coca said the shark flipped his kayak over as the two locked eyes. He managed to climb on top of the flipped kayak as the encounter continued. He said he used the paddle to distract the shark. That's when he saw the image nobody ever wants to see first-hand -- the inside of a great white's mouth.

    "He raises up out of the water and turns around and goes, 'bam!' and smashes on the paddle then takes off," Coca said.

    Seconds after the attack, Coca's friends came to his rescue. He survived the attack with just a cut above his foot. His wetsuit bootie is torn and the bottom of his kayak bears the bite marks that tell the tale his near-death experience. They measure 18 inches long -- two inches between each tooth mark.

    As scary as it was, the encounter didn't really sink into Coca's mind right away.

    "It started to settle in the next day," Coca said, "when I realized how close I came to at least losing a foot, a limb or even my life."

    Coca's planning to go right back to where the shark encounter took place -- just as soon as he buys a new kayak.