"It felt like I just got blasted by a torpedo. I didn't feel the bite from the adrenaline and then I was immediately underwater getting thrashed."
Four days before Christmas, Californian surfer Adam Coons was hit by what he and his lifeguard buddy, Jez Howard, estimated to be a fifteen-foot Great White while surfing at Santa Rosa island, twenty-six miles off Santa Babs.
If you’ve ever been to Santa Babs, you might’ve stared at the Channel Islands out there on the horizon, these inconvenient land masses that block all the summer south swells.
Santa Rosa is the second biggest. Plenty of waves, too, if you like ’em uncrowded.
As we reported at the time, it was Jez who saved Adam’s life with his practised use of tourniquets, a simple device that can save almost anyone who’s been hit by a shark.
Now, Adam and Jez have appeared on ABC News to talk about the attack.
“It felt like I just got blasted by a torpedo,” said Coons. “I didn’t feel the bite from the adrenaline and then I was immediately underwater getting thrashed.”
Jez saw it all from the boat.
“I looked up and the white shark was hitting at him, it took him out of the water probably I’d say about five feet, ya know the shark had him in [its] mouth. I just said ‘Come on buddy, you can make it.'”
Coons said his survival was due to the actions of his pal, the professionalism of the local Coast Guard and the miracle of Christmas.
“If any of these puzzle pieces didn’t come together, I don’t believe I would be here right now… I don’t know why it’s me and my family that get to stay together, while others have lost so much, and why I am keeping my legs and why I will have full recovery, except to hopefully inspire others to not give up on their passions and for families to hear the story of a Christmas miracle and to come together during the holidays no matter what might have been otherwise standing between them…I know that this is the plan for me and I don’t intend to squander this new lease on life.”
Coons also had his recently departed ma helping.
“My guardian angel, my mom, who was there as a lone seagull following the boat keeping a watchful eye until the chopper arrived.”
Coons says he’s unsure when he’ll surf again.