Surfer Says Shark Bit Him, 'Saved' Himself by Hitting It: 'It Was Like the Movie Jaws'

A North Carolina man says he endured a close encounter with a shark this week while surfing off the coast of Emerald Isle, Carteret County.

Erik "Marty" Martynuik said he went into the ocean on the western side of Bogue Banks Island on Wednesday around sunset and soon realized that he wasn't alone. He likened the situation to the famous 1975 Steven Spielberg shark thriller Jaws.

"I look over, and I see a dorsal fin! I said 'oh man, that thing's coming right towards me,'" he told local media outlet WCTI12 in an interview that aired Thursday. "It was like the movie Jaws, you know when it cruises and is gliding through the water?"

Martynuik said he fought back after the suspected shark targeted his surf board, making contact with its nose. After getting back to shore, Martynuik noted he was left with some wounds to his foot and knee. But his injuries were not life-threatening.

"It goes down, and at that time I start looking around and then BOOM!" he said. "It just nailed my board at the bottom. Next thing you know, I felt a stinging feeling. I gave him a good shot to the nose and automatically he let go. It's how I think I saved myself."

Eugene Kloepell, a friend who was in the water at the time of the incident, told WCTI12 something had appeared to be chasing Martynuik. He said: "I caught a wave and said 'I'm out of here!' That ain't no blue fish, and I kept on paddling for all I was worth!"

A "Shark Sense" fact sheet published on the Emerald Isle town's website says there are more than 40 species of shark known to frequent the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico regions, with common sightings including the Bull, Tiger, Blacktip and Sandbar.

It says that great white sharks are "relatively uncommon large predators" in the area as they prefer the cooler waters of the West Coast and the northeastern East Coast.

A spokesperson for the Emerald Isle Police told WCTI12 the department was aware of the surfers' claims of an encounter but it had not been verified as a shark bite.

Town Manager Matt Zapp noted sharks are known to swim around waters off the Bogue Banks region and advised residents to avoid going into the ocean around sunset as that is often when they feed. Martynuik confirmed he had contacted the police.

The Emerald Isle surfer said there was "no doubt about it" that he was attacked by a shark but did not blame the animal, saying that the ocean is "his home, not mine."

Shark fin in ocean
Sharks seasonally gather off the coast of Guadalupe Island; divers dive inside cages off the boat Nautilus Explorer in order to safely swim with the sharks on September 15, 2016. A North Carolina man says he endured a close encounter with a shark while surfing off the coast of Emerald Isle, Carteret County. Dave J Hogan/Getty