When Mike Coots was 18 years old, he was attacked by a tiger shark just off the coast of Kauai. The shark stuck him in about 30 feet of water, and subsequently took his right leg. Only one month later, he was back in the ocean. “Being out of the water while the wounds healed was the hardest part of the attack,” he said in an interview with BuzzFeed.
Two decades later, Coots is now a world-renowned photographer and shark conservationist. And on Thursday, the surf-lifestyle brand Vissla released its latest apparel collection in collaboration with the waterman: The Mike Coots collection.
The namesake line of T-shirts feature beautiful imagery photographed by Coots (both above and below sea level).
“Most might recoil from the ocean forever after a life-threatening encounter with a tiger shark,” the brand states. “Our good friend, Mike Coots, says it’s one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to him. Now a pioneer of amputee surfing with an even deeper love for the ocean, Mike uses his photography to spread awareness of the beauty of sharks and their importance in the ecosystem.”
Below are Mike’s descriptions of the collection of the images adorning the new line of shirts:
“Sitting on the seafloor – This is my happy place. Surrounded by an ocean of abundance, in warm clear water. I wish the entire world could experience this, as I think our collective perception of sharks would change instantly.”
“Pipe and Friends – This is just another day at The Pipeline. Photographed on a random evening from a helicopter, you really get the sense of the crowd and intensity of surfing this wave.”
“Apex – Smart, stealth, and sleek. We need these guys and gals in our oceans. I photographed this at Guadalupe Island, Mexico on my first ever white shark dive. A moment seared in my brain forever.”
Check out the Vissla site for the full collection.
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