By Jessica Vallejo

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The victim of a shark bite who required surgery to suture an 8-inch gash in his leg is speaking out about the ordeal.

“It was the kind of force that I felt would normally knock me over but it didn’t,” said Mark Bowden.

A day after the 31-year-old Bowden was bitten by a blacktip shark on South Beach, he is still standing.

On Thursday, he walked out of the Ryder Trauma Center with a bandaged leg and no assistance.

“I want to thank all the first responders and my girlfriend for supporting me.”

The California man, who is in town for vacation, was on South Beach with a buddy and his girlfriend when it happened.

He had a nice swim and then he received a warning from a woman.

“This woman on the beach came and said get out of the water I thought I saw something. But we assessed everything and she’s like it might have just been a big fish.”

Bowden says he went back in the water to body surf and that’s when the unexpected happened.

“It felt like something punched my leg really, really hard.”

Bowden says he was waist deep and didn’t realize he had just been bitten by a shark.

“I was hoping it was not a shark, but I knew that was a possibility. Something did not feel right. It didn’t feel like I got a bite, but it did not feel normal either.”

He says as he began to walk out of the beach, assisted by his girlfriend, he fell to the sand.

Bowden immediately elevated his leg and was assisted by the lifeguards.

Paramedics were able to get the blood under control before taking him to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he required surgery.

Bowden had an 8-inch cut below his knee.

“It was mostly fat and torn muscle, but the doctors were able to close it.“

Bowden says while this was a small crash against the waves, he says it won’t stop him- from doing what he loves.

“I will definitely take a break from swimming, but I love.. I just can’t stay out of the water. The chances of having two shark attacks has got to be zero.”

Jessica Vallejo

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