Minnesota man says he punched 14-foot tiger shark while surfing in Hawaii

By Daniel Uria   |   Jan. 27, 2016 at 4:42 PM

MAUI, Hawaii, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- A Minnesota man said he was able to ward off a shark attack while paddle boarding on vacation in Hawaii.

Matt Mason, 48, punched the 14-foot tiger shark in the back after it attacked his board, as he and his wife swam in the water.

"I felt something hit the back of my board and I thought it was her just ramming me," he told WCCO-TV.

Mason quickly realized the severity of the situation when the shark grasped onto his board, forcing him to act quickly.

"I remember I yelled 'shark' three times, but I think my voice was probably a little higher," he said. "He kind of dove and twisted so it threw me over. My back ended up landing on the shark's back. The whole time my wife is behind me yelling, 'Hit him! Hit him!' So I did."

Beth Mason told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press that she picked up the tip from watching the Discovery Channel.

"I was giving him advice," she said. "Who hasn't watched 'Shark Week?'"

With his wife's help, Mason was able to scare off the shark and swim frantically toward the shore.

Once on dry land, Mason appeared to be in good spirits as he joked with a crowd of witnesses, saying, "I'd really like a beer."

What Mason said he wanted most, other than a brew, was to keep the rented board that saved his life, so he asked staff at the Four Seasons Hotel if he could take it home to Minnesota.

The hotel agreed and sold the board to him for $500, and even offered to ship it to his home -- where Mason said he hopes to put it to good use.

"Can't wait to use the board on Lake Minnetonka, where I just have to worry about the boats," he said.

The hotel also covered the cost of his food and drinks for the remainder of the day and replaced a pair of sunglasses he lost during the attack.

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