NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - A shark attack survivor was able to leave the hospital and return home after a surfing trip turned into a race for survival. The attack happened last Friday in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where the surfer’s foot was severely injured from the bite.
Chris Pospisil and Reece Redish are close friends who met while surfing during COVID. They live in Brevard County but are always chasing the best wave. That’s what brought them to New Smyrna Beach this past weekend, and the shark attack they lived through brought them closer than before.
"The shark came from under me, on my board and tipped me backwards off my board, and I was falling backwards, I saw my foot in his mouth, and it dragged me under," Pospisil said.
The surfing duo had spent the day out on the waves, and they were almost ready to head in when their trip turned into survival of the fittest for the 21-year-old University of Central Florida student who’s also part of the school’s surf team.
"Immediately when I resurfaced, Reece was already there, already on top of me, got me by my shirt, and pulled me on the board," he added.
With his friend in danger, Reece didn’t miss a beat and jumped into action.
"I’m not going to leave my friend in the water," Redish said. "I’m willing to put myself at risk to help out anyone."
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Pospisil is walking again with crutches but has a long road to recovery. He won’t be able to use the injured foot for six to eight weeks and will have to do physical therapy for six months. Doctors removed a shark tooth from his bone and had to repair numerous tendons.
"The top of my foot is going to be numb in some areas for the rest of my life, and my foot might be stiff because they had to repair all seven tendons," he said while describing the injuries he thinks were left by a spinner shark since the tooth doctors found in his foot wasn’t serrated.
He’s optimistic about his outcome and recovery and credits that to his co-surfer’s rapid response.
"Reece really made the difference. You know, if he wasn’t there, I think it could have been way worse, and I think I definitely wouldn’t have gotten to the shore in time and probably would have passed out in the water," the survivor exclaimed when thanking his friend.
Even after this ordeal, they don’t want people to fear sharks or the ocean and don’t believe the shark was looking to kill them. After healing, both plan to surf again.
"I think I can do it," said Redish. "I know I can. When Chris is better, I’ll be surfing with him every day."
"It hasn’t changed anything. I’m definitely going to keep surfing. It’s my lifestyle, and it’s something I love to do," Pospisil concluded.
His family is grateful for the outpouring of support that's been pouring in. He may have to miss a semester of school with this recovery and will be out of work for quite some time.
A GoFundMe has been created to help with medical expenses.