PAIA, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fede Jaime of Maui was paddling on his surfboard off Hookipa Beach on Friday when he saw bubbles in the water. He thought it was a turtle.
But moments later, a six-foot shark grabbed the 36-year-old surfer's arm.
"It bit me on my arm and I tried to hit him ... with my foot and arms with whatever I could. And I think it came back and bit my leg again," he said.
"There was so much blood."
Jaime credits fellow surfers with saving his life by forming a protective shield around him and helping him paddle ashore.
One of the surfers was an off-duty paramedic who applied a makeshift tourniquet using a surfboard leash.
"I can't believe it. So many people would be scared, you know, because I was bleeding so much. They really risked their lives being next to me, escorting me next to the shore."
He said doctors later stitched up his arm and leg. He said he'll need additional surgery to help him regain full use of his hand.
"I'm happy I'm alive," he said.
Jaime said he didn't know what kind of shark bit him, other than that it was not a reef shark.
"I've seen reef sharks and it wasn't a reef shark," he said. "The one was all gray. I didn't see a black tip or white tip on that."
It was the sixth shark attack off Maui this year. Shark experts said the month of October tends to see a higher number of shark incidents because it's the pupping season for some species, iincluding tiger sharks.
"It's important to remember that these are incredibly rare events when you consider how many people are in the water on any given day. But if people want to call it Shark-tober so ... that some situational awareness is warranted this time of the year, I have no problem with that," said Carl Meyer, a researcher with the University of Hawaii's Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology.
Jaime said the area around Hookipa Beach isn't known for shark attacks.
"Some other spots are known for shark attacks ... because the water's murky or there's a river," he said.
He added that he expects to get back in the water once his injuries are healed. "I don't want it to ruin my life. I want to keep surfing," he said.