Standup Paddler Rescues North Shore Surfer From Nearly Lethal Tiger Shark Attack
On October 9th, 25-year-old Colin Cook was surfing off Oahu's North Shore at Leftovers surf break—north of Chun’s Reef and south of Alligator Rock—when suddenly he was fighting for his life with a 12-foot tiger shark.
The vicious attack left Cook less one leg, but thanks to his rescuer—a nearby standup paddleboarder—he survived.
According to Hawaii News Now, Cook said the shark came out of nowhere and the impact felt like "getting hit by an 18-wheeler." He was then gripped by the legs and dragged underwater, but after repeatedly punching it, the surfer was able to break free so he could scream for help.
"The shark was still dragging me by my board," Cook said. "It was just dragging me around and [Keoni] was able to hit it with his paddle."
While Bowthorpe continued to push the shark back with his paddle, Cook was able to get on the 8-foot SUP and they began paddling to shore. However, they were far from safety as the shark began following them. That is when they caught a life-saving wave.
"On the way in Colin and I were able to catch a wave that helped close the distance to shore," Bowthorpe said. "That was key, because with the weight of us both the board was underwater and so was I."
Incredibly, they made it safely to shore, where shocked onlookers jumped into action and used a surf leash to put a tourniquet on Cook's thigh. Soon he was rushed to Queen's Medical Center where doctors were forced to amputate his left leg just above the knee.
Nevertheless, Cook's spirits remain high and according to local news station KHON, doctors told him he can be back in the water in a month.
Cook credits Bowthorpe with saving his life and told KHON that he "definitely was like an angel, ascending from heaven." A GoFundMe campaign has already raised $69,000 to help Cook with medical expenses, including a prosthetic leg.
For a more peaceful encounter, watch this up-close footage of a two great white sharks in California.