Last weekend, while surfing in the ocean near Lanikai, Tony Lee came face to face with every surfer's nightmare: a stealthy, hungry shark. Lee's first alert to the shark's presence was a sudden tug that pulled him off his board and under the water with both of his legs in the shark's mouth.
Most people would have panicked, thrashed, and drowned to their watery deaths, but not Lee. Lee kept his cool and did exactly what urban legends have taught is to do—he punched it in the snout. (Spoiler: that really doesn't work.) When that proved to be less than effective, Lee improvised and did the next best thing. He ripped the damn shark's eye out.
"I had goggles on, so I could see things really clearly, and I kept thinking that if I just kept punching him he would let me go," Lee told KITV. "He pulled me down one last time, so I just reached out and put my finger in his eye and pulled out his eyeball. And so he let go. So I got to the surface. I was holding his eyeball. So I let it go and was treading water."
Two nearby canoers heard Lee's screams and paddled over to find the surfer floating in a sea of his own blood that trailed back to where the shark had attacked him.
"I could feel the blood leaving my body, and there was a big trail. And the kayakers told me they saw a big blood slick going back," Lee recalled. "I really thought I was dead there. I mean the guy was paddling as hard as he could but we were pretty far from shore."
Though Lee lost one foot to the attack, he's now in recovery awaiting surgery to save the other and all things considered, he seems to be doing just fine. As soon as he's got a new prosthetic and has healed up some, he says he plans to get right back out into the outdoors, biking, hiking, and being a general badass.