PORTLAND, Ore. – A surfer who punched a great white shark that had grabbed his leg said the attack near the Oregon coast "has made life that much more precious and interesting."
Brian Anderson, 36, remained hospitalized Monday but was expected to make a full recovery from the lacerations on his ankle and calf.
He was at a popular surfing spot near Tillamook Head, south of the community of Seaside, on Saturday when something grabbed his leg.
Anderson battled the shark alone, slugging the predator repeatedly in the nose to get it to loosen its grip. He said he learned from television shows including the Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" that a shark's nose is its most sensitive area.
When the shark finally let go, Anderson swam back to shore, dragging his badly wounded leg behind him.
"It's like your worst nightmare," he said by phone from his Portland hospital bed Monday. Anderson called the attack "an adventure which has made life that much more precious and interesting."
Other surfers called 911 after Anderson managed to pull himself onto the rocks near his home in Seaside, about 80 miles northwest of Portland.
"It felt like getting clamped in a bear trap," he said. "It was a piercing pain and then it went numb."
Anderson was hospitalized Saturday, then released Christmas Day in time to open presents with his wife and 10-year-old son. When he returned for a checkup that evening, doctors in Seaside became troubled by the depth of the wound and the possibility of bone damage, as well as infection, and instructed him to check himself into a hospital in Portland.
Anderson's wife, who is also a surfer, believes her husband will soon be back in the water, but she is less thrilled at the thought of their son taking to the surf.
"We all went through some real trauma," said Lynnet Anderson, 42. "Brian, he's always going to be the one far out there waiting for that perfect set to come in. But I'm not sure I'll ever let my 10-year-old back in the water."