Surfer Cole Herrington explained, “I was just trying to fight for my life and make sure I got back to the shore.”
Surviving—that was the only thing on 20-year-old Cole Herrington’s mind as he tried to out-paddle a shark on the Oregon Coast.
When asked what was going through his mind when he started paddling after he realized there was something wrong, Herrington replied, “Kind of looking to the sky and just asking God to save my life and saying I don’t want to die.”
You can see the bite marks on his surfboard. The shark struck him from behind, latching on to his leg, its razor-sharp teeth ripping deep through the booties he’d just purchased that day and striking his shin.
Harrington is still recovering in the hospital, so he called KATU’s Genevieve Reaume from his room. She asked, “Do you have any idea what kind of shark it was?”
“Well, everybody saying it’s a great white,” he replied.
An expert we talked with who has studied white sharks for 15 years says that’s likely the case, but Herrington never saw it. “In the moment I wasn’t trying to look at it,” he said. “I was just trying to get the hell out of there.”
Herrington managed to make his way back to the rocks where friends and others nearby jumped into action trying to stop the bleeding.
When asked what his future looked like, Herrington said, “Honestly, I have no clue. My goal right now is just to, hopefully, try to get out of here tomorrow.”
While he’ll likely be stuck in bed for a while, he said he’ll be back on a board as soon as possible.