MELBOURNE BEACH, Fla. -- A 14-year-old surfer was paddling in at dusk Monday when he felt something hit his foot.
Kai Rittgers saw a tannish-gray blur in the water near his surfboard.
"Itwas like this sharp little pain, then I kind of sat up really quick andsaw it was a shark," Kai said. The boy said he shook his left foot,which left the 2- to 3-foot shark "squirming around on the board" for afew seconds.
Kai,his brothers and his dad, Bryce Rittgers, had been surfing off thecoast of a park at the south end of this Central Florida barrier islandtown, but Kai was the only one left in the water at the time, considereda risk factor for a shark attack. Slightly scared by the encounter, Kai paddled toward shore as fast as he could.
Theincident is at least the fifth reported shark bite off Brevard Countybeaches this year compared to two in 2011. Last year 75 unprovokedattacks were reported worldwide, including 11 in Florida, according tothe International Shark Attack Filemaintained at the Florida Museum of Natural History. None of the 29 U.S. attacks last year was fatal.
Rittgers took his son to see a friend, Dawn Jockovich, who is an emergency room doctor.
Sheput a few bandages over the crescent-shaped line of teeth marks onKai's heel - no stitches were necessary - and issued a prescription foran antibiotic.
Recovering at home Monday night, the middle school student said hefelt good, and that he wouldn't go surfing that late in the day again.
His father agreed.
"I tell him every time it gets late, it's feeding time, you need to come in," Rittgers said.