A week ago McKenzie Clark found out who her best buddy was lock in a life and death struggle with a 12- to 15-foot tiger shark while surfing in murky waters off Keawaeli Bay, Hawaii.
"It was very terrifying but I am very grateful all went the way it did," Clark said after her release from the hospital Friday evening.
And the way it went was as the shark appeared and lunged at Clark it got a hold of her hand, which she managed to wrestle free, but by then the shark had a firm grip on the Kailua-Kona native's board and began to swim away with it, with the surfer being dragged behind by her leg rope.
The distressed surfer's companion, Brian Wargo, saw the attack happening and began to paddle as hard as he could to get to the shark just as it spat out the board and turned back for Clark.
"There is no question what its intent was," Wargo told the West Hawaii Today newspaper.
"I'm a fisherman and I've dealt with big animals … Its intent was to eat my friend right in front of me and I wasn’t going to let that happen."
Wargo gallantly grabbed the shark's dorsal fin with both hands – at which point the shark pulled him off the board.
During his struggle with the giant shark Wargo yelled for Clark to get on her board.
"I got my right hand free and I started hitting it as hard as I could between the gills and the dorsal fin," Wargo said.
"It felt like I was going to break my hand. About the sixth hit, I felt the shark shudder and turn away from her."
After the pair quickly paddled to shore Clark was rushed to hospital where it was discovered that she hand managed to escape with injuries to her left hand.
After receiving 20 stitches around her middle finger and ring finger – that digit incurring a cut to the bone that will require a skin graft – Clark was released from hospital.
The teeth marks left in the surfer woman's board reportedly measured 15 inches by 9 inches.
In reaction to the attack Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources closed the beach and posted shark warning signs.
"To get attacked by a shark this size and only get a couple of finger bitten, I feel really lucky," Clark said.
"I do love sharks and I think they're beautiful - right now, I just feel really, really pleased and thankful that everyone's okay."
Don't we all wish we had a buddy like that, eh?