The attack came out of nowhere.
Kawika Matsu was paddle boarding last week off the coast of Ascension Island, where he'd just wrapped up some contract work, when what he believes was a great white shark knocked him into the water.
The shark bit him several times, leaving him severely injured and bleeding profusely, before he was able to get back on the board.
Rescuers got Matsu back to shore -- and to a hospital on the tiny mid-Atlantic island.
But the Big Island native wasn't out of danger yet.
Immediately following the attack, many of the island’s 800 residents stepped up to give blood to the 37-year-old and reach his family on social media.
Matsu’s brother, Kai, said the people of Ascension Island were lifesavers.
“We want to thank the people on the island that helped him and donated blood,” Matsu said. “It was hard to communicate with the island. There were a lot of dark days.”
Matsu said his brother had been working on Ascension Island and had decided to spend a few extra days there after his contract had ended.
After several days in an island hospital, Kawika Matsu was flown to Florida, where he was in the ICU until Monday.
Matsu sustained severe injuries to his right shoulder, torso and leg.
While Ascension Island is not known for shark attacks, Matsu's attack came on the heels of another incident in April, the Telegraph reported.
Matsu was born and raised on the Big Island, and is an avid waterman.
His brother said he loves the ocean and would be hard-pressed to stay away.
“He’s a big outdoors kind of guy, he loves his fishing and hiking,” Kai Matsu said. “If he isn’t on the ocean he is up in the mountains. Knowing him, he will probably get back out there.”
The family said they are overwhelmed by the amount of support from around the world, including back at home in Hawaii.
Matsu also said his youngest brother will need extensive and expensive medical care for his recovery. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover expenses.
Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.
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