An Oregon surfer narrowly escaped being bitten by a shark Tuesday, near Pacific City. Oregon State Parks spokesman Chris Havel said that warning signs have since been put up on the beach and a ranger was tasked with patrolling the area to make sure that beachgoers do not swim deep into the waters.
Nathan Holstedt told NBC-affiliated KGW that he was waiting for a wave at around 8:30 a.m. local Time (11:30 a.m. EST) when he felt something hit his leg and grab the end of his surfboard. Before he had time to register what was happening, he was pulled under the water. "It pulled me straight down like a plunger," Holstedt said. "I was two feet under."
When he resurfaced, he saw a shark a few feet away from him, coming right toward him. Instinctively, Holstedt picked up the surfboard which, luckily, was floating at an arm's length and used it like a tomahawk to slap the water between him and the predatory animal.
"It was like this thing is going to hit me. So, I just grabbed the board," he said. "I could see the shadow of its head and then I just saw the tail whipping and I just had a split second to put something between me and it."
He shuddered to think what could have happened if the surfboard would have been a few more feet away and he didn't get hold of it in time. "I don't know if I would have got it," Holstedt said.
After buying himself a few seconds, he turned toward the shore and paddled as hard as he could toward it, all the while yelling at the others to get out of the waters safely. He made safely to the beach. Holstedt told Oregonian that all of his friends were able to get out of the waters safely too. Looking back at the incident, he said that the shark probably missed his feet by six inches.
His partially damaged surfboard remains one of the biggest reminders of the horrific experience. There were bite marks on the side of the board and its left fin was knocked off. There was also a crack at the nose of the board, which Holstedt guessed happened when he tried to use it to defend himself against the shark.
Holstedt said he's been surfing in the area for 15-16 years and only ever had one other run-in with a shark. Two years ago, a shark swam up behind him when he was riding a wave, causing him and his team to scramble for the shore. Despite his close encounter with the deadly aquatic creature, he said he has no plans to give up surfing. "Hopefully my card was punched and I'm good now. Fingers crossed," he said.
Only 14 shark attacks have been reported in Oregon coast since 2000, according to the Global Shark Attack File. The most recent attack occurred near Indian Beach at Ecola State Park in 2016, when a Portland nurse was bitten. She survived the attack.
This article originally appeared in IBTimes US.