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California kayaker catches fight with hammerhead shark on camera

By Ben Hooper
California kayaker catches fight with hammerhead shark on camera
A kayaker off California's Gaviota State Beach recorded his struggle with an aggressive hammerhead shark. Mark McCracken/YouTube video screenshot

GOLETA, Calif., Sept. 23 (UPI) -- A kayaker off the coast of Goleta, Calif., shared video of his struggle with an aggressive hammerhead shark that repeatedly attacked his kayak.

Mark McCracken, who posted his video to YouTube, said he was in his kayak "trolling for bonito" off the coast of Gaviota State Beach in Goleta Saturday when the "tweaked out hammerhead started ramming and biting my kayak."

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"I hit the shark over and over and over with my paddle before he finally settled down. He then stalked me all the way back to shore, occasionally approaching me again and receiving another paddle to the face," McCracken wrote.

The kayaker said in an Instagram post that he struck the shark more than 20 times in an attempt to drive it away from his boat.

"Even after I was on shore, he remained in about 4 feet of water pacing back and forth like he was just waiting for round #2," McCracken said.

He said the encounter was a "pretty bizarre and crazy experience to say the least."

Shark expert Ralph Collier, who has been researching California waters since 1962, said there have not been this many hammerheads in the area since the 1960s.

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"These sharks are everywhere. They're moving up here following their food because these warmer water fishes are moving up here," Collier told CBS Los Angeles.

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