Lihue resident Steve Stotts is out of the hospital recovering after quite the surf story Monday.
“The waves were chest high, just barely enough to get out have some fun on, none else was out,” he recalls.
He was surfing with his wife Rachel about 100 yards offshore at a spot known as Gillin’s at Mahaulepu Beach in Poipu.
Around 4:30 p.m.. the couple noticed a Hawaiian monk seal darting back and forth through the water.
“I was watching the seal on the outside and I turned around and looked at her and it wasn’t even a second after she kicked out of the wave and I felt a real hard clamp on my foot, a deep piercing, no pain just a clamp.”
Stotts didn’t know what bit him at first, but knew his foot was badly injured.
“I just started paddling for her I didn’t even want to look back to see what was back there I figured I wanted to get out of the water at that point,” he says.
Bleeding, he and his wife paddled to shore and were helped by other surfers into their truck and they drove to the hospital.
Doctors confirmed what bit him was a shark.
“Two of the teeth that got me on the top of the foot connected and the teeth were at least an inch long, and another two off of that it was a perfect outline of a tiger shark tooth.”
Stotts got 24 stitches.
The bite punctured through the top of his foot severing part of a tendon.
“It was wrong place at wrong time I think he was chasing the seal around and I got in the middle, so he took a test bite and didn’t like the flavor,” he says.
Stotts has been surfing this same break for about 12 years and says this won’t keep him out of the water.