Frank A. Wacha, Jr., 61, shows off the surfboard he was using when a shark bit his left arm Thursday afternoon at Jensen Public Beach. (KEONA GARDNER/TCPalm.com)
Keona Gardner, TCPalm.com
JENSEN BEACH — Surfer Frank A. Wacha Jr., knew he had a problem Thursday afternoon when he saw a bull shark hanging off his left arm.
“It felt just like I had been hit,” said Wacha, 61. “It was very fast. It didn’t last long.”
It was the first time Wacha, who has 50 years experience riding the waves, had been bitten by a shark.
He recounted his experience Friday afternoon while recovering at his restaurant, Kona Beach Cafe.
The avid surfer was 120 to 150 yards offshore Jensen Public Beach on his surfboard when he felt something leap out of the water and attach itself to his arm.
“My arm was out of the water,” he said. “I looked over and saw this shark. We were eye to eye.
“The first thing I thought was, ‘I need to get a wave and get to shore,’” Wacha said. “Then I thought, ‘I hope I don’t lose function in this arm.’ I knew I wasn’t going to lose the arm because it was still attached.”
Soon after sinking its teeth into Wacha’s flesh, the shark fell off, but not before leaving bite marks from Wacha’s forearm to upper arm.