By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A woman who was attacked by a 6-foot (1.8-meter) shark in her outrigger canoe off the California coast over the weekend managed to escape unharmed and paddle safely back to shore, the local harbor patrol said on Monday.
The woman, who was not identified, told authorities that she was paddling her canoe about 3 miles (5 km) offshore, when the shark began biting on the outrigger, Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol officer Larry Nufer said.
The woman was pitched into the water during the attack, about a mile (1.8 km) north of Santa Barbara Harbor, Nufer said, but she managed to scramble back into her canoe and paddle it back to shore as the shark swam away.
She described the shark as six feet (1.8 meter) long and blue-gray in color.
Earlier this month a surfer was attacked by a shark and injured on the central California coast some 30 miles (48 km)north of Santa Barbara, prompting the closure of three public beaches in the area controlled by Vandenberg Air Force Base.
The surfer suffered lacerations to his knee, and his surfboard was scraped in the attack by a shark measuring 8 to 10 feet (2.4 to 3 meters) in length, according to a report by the Shark Research Committee.
The base and Collier's report did not say what type of shark was involved, but local media described it as a great white.
Despite intense media attention generated by shark attacks on humans, such incidents are fairly rare along the U.S. Pacific Coast, with 154 unprovoked attacks authenticated off California since 1900, according to the Shark Research Committee.
Thirteen fatal shark attacks on people have been documented in California during the past 60 years, with the two most recent of those occurring at Vandenberg's Surf Beach in October 2010 and October 2012, the group said.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Sandra Maler)