A shark took part of Mike Coots’ leg, but that didn’t stop him from getting out there in the line-up! Here he is showing off a new carbon fiber leg that has made all the difference.

In 1997 at seventeen years of age, Mike was surfing off the amazing and beautiful Hawaiian Island of Kauai when in one bite a tiger shark bit off a significant portion of his leg. There was no warning. No fin. It came up from the depths and grabbed ahold of his leg. Mike was still able to think enough to hit the giant shark in the head with his hand. On the second punch the shark appeared to let go. Mike struggled to get to shore as fast as he could by catching the next wave in. He and his friends went quickly to the hospital, saving his life.

As he recovered he discovered photography! Now he is a professional photographer shooting for hotels and other businesses on the Island of Kauai.

Wait, there’s more. Mike didn’t hold any hard feelings for the shark that ate his leg. In fact, he chose to become an advocate for sharks too! Mike has spoken in front of groups at the United Nations and in Washington D.C. to help advocate better rules and regulations about interacting with and killing sharks worldwide. Mike was instrumental in helping a restriction pass the Hawaiian State legislature regarding a ban on the possession and sale of shark fins for soup in 2010. Unbelievably, no other state in the nation had yet approved such a measure!

So, Mike is STILL SURFING. What about YOU? Would you go back in the water if a shark took your leg? I don’t know myself. I think it’s a question that I:

  • hope to never have to answer!
  • couldn’t guess at what my reaction would be, until it happened


What is the Shark Situation in Hawaii? More info here.

Here’s another one –

Here is Mike’s Vimeo Channel. I hope he makes some more videos!