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11/21/2014 03:29 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Shark Attack Survivor Says Surfing With A Prosthetic Leg Keeps Him 'Stoked'

It's been almost two decades since Mike Coots lost his left leg to a shark, but he wants the world to know that he's still in the water -- and he's still stoked about it.

When he recently got a new prosthetic leg -- one custom-made with carbon fiber by Össur, an Icelandic orthopedics developer -- Coots filmed the 18-second video above with his Go Pro to show how surfing with it made him feel.

"I was surfing on my previous legs, but it was uncomfortable because they were made of wood and metal," Coots told HuffPost. "I wanted to show that I now have this new leg made of carbon, and I'm stoked! I didn't mean for the clip to look so happy, but I do feel really happy and blessed that I have something to surf with that's so good."

After the shark attack in 1997, prosthetists warned Coots -- a surfer who was born and raised on the island of Kauai -- not to use his prosthetic leg in the ocean because it would become damaged and rusted. Instead, he took up body boarding because he could do without his prosthetic.

When Coots eventually moved to Santa Barbara, California to attend college, he realized the waves there were only good for surfing. Going against his prosthetist's advice, Coots decided he had nothing to lose and took a surfboard out with his prosthetic leg anyway.

"I thought the bolts were going to fly off, but they didn't," he said. "Everything just held together. I could barely stand up, but I was still able to. I knew I was on to something."

Since then, the now 35-year-old surfer has worked with Össur to design legs that are "100% designed for the ocean," Coots said. At first, it was strange getting comfortable with each leg, but "it was just about rewiring my brain to know where I think my foot should be on the board, even though I don't know where it actually is," he explained.

Now, he says, "I can sort of feel little nuances with the carbon. Every 'touch' reverberates up into my residual limb and it triggers into my brain. Weird stuff, huh?"

Coots says he works hard at improving his surfing because he's naturally a water person and it's something he can do in the ocean without taking off his leg. "I love the challenge," he said. "And, I guess, it's inspiring other people. It's a good visual, tangible thing that'll motivate people [with prosthetics] to go out there and do things."

If this isn't the face of pure bliss, we don't know what is:

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