It was a perfect fall morning just before Halloween on the peninsula shielding Northern California's Humboldt Bay. High-tide peaks were breaking up and down the beach, and the water was clean and clear. I caught four waves in quick succession, laughing at my good luck. Then it changed.—Scott Stephens
Illustration: Koren Shadmi
The shark dragged me under and shook me once. I hit it behind the eye, which felt like punching a bag of concrete, but it let me go.