Nearly a week after a shark attack claimed his leg, Rhode Island native Colin Cook spoke publicly for the first time to NBC10 Thursday.
"Kinda makes you realize things are bigger than you," Cook said from his hospital bed in Hawaii.
Cook was surfing off Oahu's North Shore when he was attacked by a 10 to 12 foot tiger shark.
"Out of nowhere a massive shark hit me like an 18-wheeler. It kind of took me a little while to know what was going on. The water out here in Hawaii is so clear that I opened my eyes and I could see there was this massive shark on me. Kinda had to hold him off with one hand, punch him with the other one," he said.
A friend and fellow surfer came to his aid. "If it wasn't for him, I definitely wouldn't be here."
Colin's leg had to be amputated.
His hand is badly damaged.
But he's thinking positive.
There's not many people who've fought off a shark.
"It sounds like this big thing but to be honest, when you're put in that situation, you don't make the decision, your body does it naturally for you," Cook said.
Now, he has a long recovery ahead.
Cook is moving from the hospital to a rehab facility Friday. He expects to be there about two weeks before returning to Rhode Island for a while.
Friends back home in Rhode Island have started a gofundme site to raise money for a prosthetic leg.
Cook is appreciative, saying, "Thank you guys. I love you guys for the support and everything you guys have done for me. Rhody's the best."
Colin moved from his hometown of Tiverton to Hawaii three years ago to follow a dream.
He surfs every day, and says the thought of sharks was always in the back of his mind. "We know we're going into their house. We're guests, visitors in the ocean."
But it's a place he won't hesitate to visit again.
"I can't wait to get back in the water," Cook told NBC10.