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How to survive a shark attack? Punch the shark

A California surfer was bitten by a shark near Humboldt Bay, but Scott Stephens says he punched the shark until it let him go.

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Scott Stephens of Manila, Calif., answers a question at a news conference at a hospital in Eureka, Calif., on Wednesday, the day after a shark attack about 250 miles north of San Francisco.

(AP Photo/The Times-Standard, Shaun Walker)

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A California surfer who survived a shark attack says he punched the beast in the head until it finally released him.

Scott Stephens says the great white pulled him underwater Tuesday at a popular surf spot and let him go only after receiving the blows to its head.

Stephens said he went surfing around 10 a.m. Tuesday and was having a good day. He was catching waves about 150 yards from other surfers at Bunkers, a popular local surf spot near Humboldt Bay.

When the shark hit him, Stephens was paddling on his stomach. It immediately pulled him underwater.

”I opened my eyes underwater and punched the shark on the side of the head until it released me,” Stephens said, reports the Eureka Times-Standard newspaper.

Stephens was able to get back on his surf board and paddle back to shore. As he paddled, he called for help and several other surfers came to his assistance.

”I can't begin to say how appreciative I am of them,” Stephens said. “When I reached the beach, I realized how injured I was ..."

Doctors say Stephens suffered at least seven deep lacerations, but none of his vital organs was damaged. He was expected to be released form the hospital Thursday.

The 25-year-old thanked the doctors who operated on him and strangers who came to his aid. He says he plans to surf again.

RELATED: Top shark attack locations

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