July 21 (UPI) -- A California kayaker said he narrowly escaped severe injury or worse when a great white shark bit down on the side of his kayak.
Bret Z. Jackson, 40, of Los Angeles, said he had been kayaking off a Santa Barbara beach Thursday when the great white shark appeared from beneath him and attacked the side of his vessel.
"The only thing I saw was its face in my face, clamping down and then shoving me sideways," Jackson told the Los Angeles Times. "Yeah, it was ... big, it was right in my face. It was a great white -- gray on top, white on bottom, black eyes."
He said the shark flipped his kayak over, sending him splashing into the water.
"It was about a foot away. Its nose was about a foot from my nose, biting on to the side [of the kayak] here and it drove me back, flipped me over," Jackson told KSBY-TV.
"I was in for a couple of seconds, I don't know, I scrambled, completely flipped over. I got out somehow and was on the bottom side of my kayak, which was out of the water," Jackson said. "The kayak is 9 feet long and I'm 6-3 and I have my arms tucked in."
Jackson said he pulled out a 5-inch knife he'd brought in case there was trouble in the water. He said he feared the knife wouldn't be enough to fend off the aquatic predator as his kayak started to sink from the holes punctured by the shark's teeth.
He said the shark failed to return after a few minutes and salvation came in the form of a nearby sailboat, which took him aboard until the Harbor Patrol arrived.
Jackson said he was lucky to avoid serious injury -- or worse -- in the attack.
"My heart's racing!! Not a scratch. It's crazy," Jackson said.
The Harbor Patrol posted signs on Santa Barbara beaches warning of shark activity in the area. They said the signs would remain for 48 hours.