FORT PIERCE, Fla. (WFLA) – A Florida surfer is on the road to recovery after he was attacked by a shark in Fort Pierce last week.
Matt Picarelli, 36, told WPTV that he was surfing at Pepper Park Beach on March 12 when he suddenly felt a shark bite down.
As he recalled the frightening moment, Picarelli said the attack happened so quickly that it didn’t even feel real.
“It was a big animal next to me coming towards me and then, once it bit me, it took a chomp out of my foot and it just immediately left and just flew away, like so quick,” Picarelli told WPTV. “Everything happening so quickly, it didn’t feel real at all. It felt very surreal.”
According to WPTV, Picarelli was rushed out of the water and was quickly taken to a local hospital by a friend and treated for his injuries.
“Fifty stitches, broken tendon, chipped the bone. Yeah, it was – didn’t look good,” Picarelli said.
After the attack, Picarelli told WPTV that he keeps replaying the bite in his head over and over again.
“Every night, I’ve been having nightmares about it,” Picarelli told the outlet. “I’m having sharks, whether I’m in the water or even in a room, coming towards me and biting my leg, biting my arm, biting my side, biting something, and attacking me.”
Despite the painful and terrifying experience, Picarelli said he’s finding the strength to stay positive because he realizes the situation could’ve been much worse. He even said that he plans to eventually return to the water.
“I surfed my entire life,” he told WPTV. “I’m a waterman. I love the ocean. I’m in there every day, so I don’t see myself not going back in after this.”
According to WPTV, Picarelli will continue to allow his foot to recover over the next couple of weeks and then plans to do physical therapy before getting back on the surfboard.