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Surfer escapes injury after shark bit her board off California's central coast

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MORRO BAY, California — A surfer escaped injury on Saturday after a great white shark bit her board off California's central coast.

Elinor Dempsey, 54, of Los Osos, California, said she was surfing at Morro Strand State Beach, just north of Morro Bay, around 10 a.m. when a shark swam under her board and chomped on it, leaving an approximately 14-inch wide bite mark.

Dempsey pushed her board toward the shark as she jumped off.

Other surfers who saw the attack warned everyone else to get out of the water. Some of the surfers helped Dempsey reunite with her board, and she got back on it to get to shore.

Officials closed the beach for 72 hours and posted warning signs at nearby beaches, said the beach's supervising ranger, Lisa Remington.

Experts will analyze the bite mark and teeth pattern to determine the size of the shark.

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist who happened to be in the area and examined the board estimated that the shark was a 6-foot-long adult male.

Dempsey told the San Luis Obispo Tribune (http://bit.ly/1LKdmuj ) that she was shaken by her close encounter with the shark and might take a break from surfing.

"I'll be staying close in from now on," she said. "I'll probably be on my boogie board for a little while."

PHOTO: At home in Los Osos, Calif., Elinor Dempsey, 54, shows her surfboard which a shark bit earlier Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015 while she was in Morro Bay. She was uninjured in the attack. (Laura Dickinson/The Tribune (of San Luis Obispo) via AP)
At home in Los Osos, Calif., Elinor Dempsey, 54, shows her surfboard which a shark bit earlier Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015 while she was in Morro Bay. She was uninjured in the attack. (Laura Dickinson/The Tribune (of San Luis Obispo) via AP)

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PHOTO: Elinor Dempsey, left, 54, of Los Osos, Calif., stands on the beach of Morro Strand Park on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015 after a shark bit her board while she was surfing in Morro Bay, leaving a 14-inch wide bite mark. A shark expert said the shark could have been as big as 13 to 15 feet, though he still needs to examine the board for a conclusive measurement. (Pat Pemberton/The Tribune (of San Luis Obispo) via AP)
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