The 52-year-old Fremont man was fishing around 8:30 a.m. just outside the kelp line at Pleasure Point when he encountered the shark.
Capitola Police Ofc. Chad Keane spoke with the man just moments after his shark encounter. Based on the size of the bite mark on the kayak and a tooth fragment, Keane thinks the shark that attacked was a great white.
"He felt this tremendous bump to the back of the kayak, which lifted the back of the kayak actually out of the water; at the same time, simultaneously, he saw the head on the front of the kayak, taking a bite of the kayak," Keane said. "And he was subsequently thrown into the water.
Even though the kayaker had two other friends in their own kayaks nearby, people in a small, motorized fishing boat rushed in and rescued him.
"I think he was very fortunate that the fact there were other boaters were nearby and were able to rescue hime and helped him get out as quickly as possible; that helped him, yes," Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Esther Beckman said.
The kayaker was in shock but was otherwise, unharmed. He is recovering at home.
The harbor patrol and state park rangers have been notified. No signs have been put up, but word is spreading about the attack.
It's not stopping people from going into the water.
"There's a lot of sharks in the ocean, it's their ocean, so I'm not surprised," Cathy Lesser said.
"It's kind of what sharks do, they just cruise around all day biting stuff; I wouldn't necessarily call that an an attack, that's more like shark behavior," John Souza said.
The water where the attack happened was just 40 feet deep.
Officials say they do not ever recall a great white attacking a kayaker in that area.