Surfer survives shark attack near San Luis Obispo

Man in his 50s survives shark attack off California's central coast

A man surfing with friends near San Luis Obispo was bitten by a great white shark Sunday but escaped serious injury and was able to paddle to shore, officials said.

The unidentified man in his 50s was in waters off Sand Spit Beach in Montana De Oro State Park  about 11:30 a.m. when the shark, described as an 8- to 10-foot-long juvenile, rose from the depths and bit him on the right hip, said Supervising State Park Ranger Robert Colligan.

The man, a resident of Morro Bay, was treated by medics at the scene and then airlifted by helicopter to a local hospital for treatment. Information on his condition was not immediately available, but his injuries were said to be non-life-threatening.

About 12 other surfers were in the water, but no other injuries were reported.

"Witnesses said the shark came up from below," Colligan said. "It looked from the evidence that the board took the majority of damage but in the process the shark took a little bit from the right hip."

The man managed to stay composed throughout the ordeal.

"He was fairly calm throughout, other than he didn't want to look down at his leg," Colligan said.

The bite marks on the board -- their size and description -- seemed to indicate that the shark was indeed a young great white, which are not uncommon farther north in colder waters.

Attacks on humans, though, are rare, the last occurring in 2003 near Avila Beach, about 10 miles south of the latest incident, Colligan said.

Sand Spit Beach will remain open, but will have signs posted about the latest attack.

"Mainly to let the public know that they enter the waters at their own risk," Colligan said. "They will remain up for the next few days and pending no other sightings, the posts will come down."

carla.rivera@latimes.com
Twitter: @CarlaRiveraLat

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