I lost my leg to a Tiger Shark riding waves in Hawaii when I was 18 years old. I now surf daily with a custom prosthetic leg, often at the same beach I got attacked. I love everything about sharks, and feel they are extremely important for the health of our oceans. I am a member of the Pew Enviroment Group's Shark Attack Survivors for Shark Conservation. I am featured on this weeks SharkFest television programming on the NatGeo Wild channel. I have now closed the chat.


Comments: 36 • Responses: 11  • Date: 

Chrnan671012 karma

I've heard that when people think they are just about to die, their "life flashes before their eyes." If this can in fact happen, did this happen to you?

MikeCoots15 karma

All I felt was a really calm, at ease state. It was strange, although I thought I was going to die, it was not scary.

TheLoweDowne9 karma

Were you afraid of the ocean after the attack and if so how did you get over that fear and back in the water?

What do you think about all the recent shark attacks that have been happening on the East Coast?

MikeCoots12 karma

I was not afraid to go back in the water after the attack (my first time in was right where the attack happened). The ocean means everything to me and is part of my life. Much scarier to me a life without the sea than worrying about getting attacked again. My heart goes out to the victims of the recent attacks on the East Coast

Frajer7 karma

why did the shark attack you ?

MikeCoots11 karma

I don't know, but the water visibility was not clear and a bit of a fishy smell in the air. So I may of been mistaken for its natural prey.

tittynipple696 karma

What went through your mind during the attack?

MikeCoots10 karma

It was a complete fight or flight reaction. I had a creepy chill go through my body and at the same time punched the shark in the nose and it let go.

TheLoweDowne3 karma

Could you feel the shark bite your leg or did adrenaline keep you from feeling anything?

MikeCoots8 karma

I felt no pain, only a lot of pressure, like someone heavy was sitting on my legs.

Jilly_Willy5 karma

If I were attacked by a shark I'd probably die ... how did you survive?

MikeCoots8 karma

My friend did some quick thinking and made a tourniqute out of the plastic leash on my board. That saved my life.

megpete4 karma

Was it hard for you to advocate for something that attacked you? Why did you decide to do that?

MikeCoots5 karma

As I learned the science behind the importance of sharks in our oceans, it became clear I was in a unique position to help. There are a group of us shark attack survivors who advocate on behalf of shark protections worldwide. We try to dispel myths about sharks and shark attacks since we know they are such a important part of the ecosystem. Here is our Facebook page if you want to learn more https://facebook.com/sharkattacksurvivors

Noremac8123 karma

What is your favorite species of shark?

MikeCoots3 karma

I would say Great White. So amazingly beautiful and mysterious.

GoredonTheDestroyer3 karma

How did it feel to be both made a tiger shark's bitch, and to subsequently make the tiger shark your friend?

MikeCoots3 karma

Ironically honored!

lianathequeen1 karma

What is one of your main reasons for trying to save sharks? Are there many people telling you how bad sharks are because they heard of your experience?

MikeCoots1 karma

My main reason I love sharks and am working with others for protection is that they are a extremely important part of the health of our oceans. Without them, our seas would be in a very bad state. Yes, people hear my story and it scares them, thats why I do my best to inform and change their perception of sharks and shark attacks.

steelersbabs1 karma

Mike...your story in incredible! And the photos that you take are amazing! were you into photography before the shark encounter?

MikeCoots1 karma

Thank you! I got into photography full time as a way to pass the time during the rehabilitation process.