He’s been struck by lightning, and has been bitten by a rattlesnake. He’s also been punched by monkeys not once – but twice – and now can claim that he’s survived a major shark bite. What are the odds – especially on the cusp of National Shark Week?
This “lucky” man is Erik Norrie, CEO of New Nautical Coatings, which manufactures Sea Hawk Paints. He’s in incredibly great spirits after recovering from a serious shark attack. It happened on July 29th near Scotland Cay in Abaco, Bahamas. Erik is at Tampa General Hospital, dealing with multiple reconstructive surgeries, and said he owes his survival to his strong faith in God.
“I had just speared a grouper and was swimming back to the boat with it when this shark grabbed my leg, and I felt a crunching sensation,” reported Norrie. “And when I turned around, the water was filled with blood. It looked like a Jaws movie,” he said.
The shark was about six feet long and took a large chunk out of Norrie’s calf. “I got a look at him when he was swimming away with a piece of my leg in his mouth,” said Norrie, who has been spearfishing since he was eight. He was in about five feet of water, and was able to make a quick tourniquet around his leg, using the rubber of his spear gun to slow the bleeding, which probably saved his life. “I immediately threw the speared fish down because there was an enormous pool of blood around me and that shark was swimming all through the blood, sort of looking around for more,” he said.
“I didn’t keep my head cool; the Lord kept my head cool,” he said reverently. “Because I couldn’t have done it without Him; He sustained me – kept me calm.” Norrie’s wife, Spryng and their four daughters witnessed the horrific scene. The girls held hands and closed their eyes. “They were gathered together in prayer, just praying out loud, and my eldest daughter started texting friends of mine to pray,” continued Norrie.
A doctor vacationing from San Diego just happened to be within three minutes of them and helped the family get Norrie to shore and to a medical facility, and then to Jackson Hospital in Miami.
Norrie said he is grateful to God for sparing his life. “As odd as it might sound, I remember thanking Him for it, because I know something great will come from it,” said Norrie. “And I gotta believe this is part of my journey.” The family said their prayers got them through the worst part of this ordeal and they are certain their strong faith will take them to whatever next challenge lies ahead. “I thank the Lord every day for allowing me to survive. And thank you all for your thoughts and prayers,” he said.
Despite the pain and countless surgeries and skin grafts, Norrie keeps his sense of humor. “It’s called the shark bite diet,” he joked. “You can lose two pounds in three seconds!” Don’t be surprised if – in the not too distant future – you see a new label for Sharkskin, one of Sea Hawk’s antifouling bottom paints, or perhaps a new name for sHAWKocon™, one of Sea Hawk’s Primer Systems. Hmmm, let’s see. How about SHARKocon? Stay tuned!