Steve Lawson was out kayaking off the Santa Cruz beach Tuesday morning when a shark attacked his boat. Authorities have now closed down a portion of the popular surfing beaches for a period of at least four days.

Kayaker feels a tug on his boat

Lawson, an experienced kayaker, told KSBW-TV he was out kayaking off the Santa Cruz beach on Tuesday morning when it happened. He suddenly felt a tug on his boat and when he looked down, he saw what he believes was a great white shark. Lawson said he saw the shark hanging on the front end of his boat.

After the shark bit his kayak, Lawson panicked and jumped into the water, but luckily he was not injured in the attack.

Lawson said, after he panicked, he spent some time swimming around in the water, but the shark didn't come back. He said it wasn't interested in him. Lawson used his marine radio to call for help and Harbor Patrol sent out officers within 90 seconds.

Incident was a 'true predatory attack'

Santa Cruz Fire Chief Jim Frawley said they were able to meet up with Lawson and get him out of the water. Lawson had been kayaking near the popular Steamer Lane surfing area. Authorities then determined that it was a "true predatory attack" on his kayak. As reported by the Mercury News, officials decided "out of an abundance of caution" to close down water activity within a one-mile radius of the spot where Lawson was attacked.

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Signs have been posted on the beaches and water access is to be limited in the area between San Lorenzo River mouth and Fair Avenue until Saturday. All surf schools and kayak rental shops in the area will also be shut down for four days.

Frawley did say the partial closure of the beaches is "unprecedented," but he stressed the need for beachgoers' safety, adding that increased lifeguard and beach patrols will be on the beaches and water vessels to warn visitors not to swim in the water.

Popular destination for surfers temporarily closed

The beaches are a popular surfing destination that attracts surfers from all over the U.S., but Frawley said anyone who defies the directive could face a fine of up to $200. He noted that every time someone goes into the ocean, they run the risk of encountering wildlife there, including great white sharks. Authorities want to caution people to ensure they are aware of their surroundings and heed warnings from Ocean Safety and lifeguard staff.

Lawson says he has been kayaking for 25 years and said while the incident was scary, he won't let the Shark Attack stop him from pursuing his hobby.