WARNING: This story contains a graphic picture some viewers might find disturbing.
A Florida surfer is on the road to recovery after he was attacked by a shark at New Smyrna Beach last week, and he credits his friend’s bravery and quick thinking for his survival.
Chris Pospisil and Reece Redish are both surfers from Brevard County, Florida, who met during the coronavirus pandemic and quickly became close friends. While on the hunt for the best wave last Friday, the pair ended up at the popular beach on Florida’s eastern coast.
As their day in the water came to an end, 21-year-old Pospisil, who is on the surf team at the University of Central Florida, was bitten by a shark.
“The shark came from under me, on my board and tipped me backwards off my board, and I was falling backwards, I saw my foot in his mouth, and it dragged me under,” Pospisil told FOX 35 Orlando.
He told the outlet that Redish immediately jumped into action to save him. By the time he resurfaced, his friend was right there holding him by his shirt and pulling him back onto his board.
“I’m not going to leave my friend in the water,” Redish said. “I’m willing to put myself at risk to help out anyone.”
Pospisil said his friend’s actions “really made the difference.”
“You know, if he wasn’t there, I think it could have been way worse, and I think I definitely wouldn’t have gotten to the shore in time and probably would have passed out in the water,” he told FOX 35.
The surfer sustained extensive damage to his left foot in the attack and his surgeon said he lost approximately “one large Chick-fil-a sized cup of blood,” according to a GoFundMe account set up by family.
Seven tendons and a couple of small arteries were repaired in surgery, and a skin graft had to be created to wrap around Pospisil’s foot. Doctors also found pieces of the shark’s tooth shattered and stuck in his bone.
“The top of my foot is going to be numb in some areas for the rest of my life, and my foot might be stiff because they had to repair all seven tendons,” he said while describing his injuries.
Though Pospisil is back on his feet with assistance from crutches, he has a long road ahead to complete healing as he is not allowed to use his injured foot for six to eight weeks. He will also be in physical therapy for six months.
Despite the setback, he told FOX 35 he is optimistic and planning to surf again once he’s cleared to do so.
“It hasn’t changed anything. I’m definitely going to keep surfing. It’s my lifestyle, and it’s something I love to do,” Pospisil shared.
He and Redish both said they don’t want this incident to make people afraid of sharks or the ocean, adding that they don’t believe the shark set out to kill him.
In the GoFundMe, Pospisil’s family said they are grateful for the outpouring of support as his recovery will cause him to miss a semester of school and months of work.
As of early Wednesday morning, the fundraising account amassed over $2,400.