NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - Stitches now cover part of Pat Clark’s right foot after a shark bit him in New Smyrna Beach, Florida on Sunday.
The 28-year-old avid surfer was riding waves by the jetty when he says he jumped off his board and the shark got a hold of his foot, quickly letting go.
"I just feel this gnarly pain. I was like what was that? I had no idea and by the time I was like, that was a shark," he said.
Clark tells FOX 35 News he never saw the shark, but doctors estimated it was around five feet.
"He let go, and I was kind of in shock, and I forgot how to swim, and I was reaching for my board trying to not get bit again," he described.
Clark says a friend drove him to the hospital where doctors told him the shark just missed the tendon in his foot, calling him lucky.
After 10 days of stitches, Clark says he’ll be back on his board in a week or two – though probably not by the jetty, he says.
"I’ll probably stay on the Ponce Inlet side for now. At least the water’s clearer, and you can kind of see them at least," he said.
He’s been surfing much of his life. He says he knows things like this can happen in the Shark Bite Capital of the World.
"It’s a great wave. It’s the best wave around you know. That’s the price we’re willing to pay I think," he said.
Clark's encounter with a shark comes just days after a Florida teenager suffered devastating injuries from a shark bite. Addison Bethea, 17, of Perry, Florida, was scalloping with her brother when she was pulled underwater by an estimated 9-foot shark. Doctors say she must undergo a third surgery to amputate her leg.