Mike Coots

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Mike Coots Photographer

With a remarkable story, Mike Coots is a surfer, photographer, shark attack survivor and shark advocate.

He surfs with a specially designed prosthetic leg, and is often diving with sharks around the world.  Mike is an advocate for marine conservation and legislation.  He has been featured on CBS News, Discovery, CNN, Time Magazine, National Geographic Magazine, plus several other publications and news outlets.


From surviving a harrowing shark attack to becoming a one of Earth’s staunchest advocate for sharks, Mike’s journey is a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the power of turning tragedy into triumph.

Born and raised on the shores of Hawai’i, Mike Coots developed a deep connection with the ocean from an early age. He was drawn to the waves, captivated by the thrill of the surf, and quickly honed his skills both above and below the waterline. The ocean became his playground, and its rhythms would shape the course of his life. At 18 years of age, Mike experienced a life-altering event that would forever change him. While surfing off the coast of Kauai, he fell victim to a shark attack, losing his right leg. Instead of succumbing to fear and despair, Mike’s tenacity and courage shone through. Determined to continue his passion for surfing, he adapted to his new circumstances, learning to ride the waves with a custom prosthetic leg.

The shark attack was a pivotal moment for Mike Coots. Instead of harboring resentment towards sharks, he found a way to empathize with these majestic creatures and advocate for their protection. Recognizing that humans are more of a threat to sharks than vice versa, Mike became an ardent supporter of shark conservation efforts. He used his story to raise awareness about the importance of understanding and respecting sharks and their role in maintaining the delicate balance of marine ecosystems. He became involved in various organizations and campaigns focused on ocean health, marine sanctuaries, and the preservation of biodiversity. Through public speaking engagements, educational expeditions, and social media, Mike has been instrumental in inspiring people worldwide to take action and protect our oceans for future generations.

Beyond surfing and activism, Mike’s an accomplished photographer and artist. His stunning photography captures the raw beauty of the ocean and its inhabitants, often reflecting the vulnerable relationship between humans and nature. Through his artwork, he continues to spread his message of conservation, compelling viewers to appreciate and safeguard the wonders of the sea. Mike’s remarkable journey has garnered widespread recognition and accolades. He has received numerous awards for his environmental efforts and bravery in the face of adversity. His story has been shared worldwide, reaching millions of people and leaving an indelible mark on their hearts. Mike’s partnerships with some of Earth’s biggest brands have been a platform to raise awareness of the importance of protecting our oceans. His hope is to shift the narrative of the shark- that we need them for a healthy planet.

As Mike Coots continues to surf the waves and advocate for the ocean, his impact remains profound. He exemplifies the true meaning of resilience, using his unique experiences to shape a more compassionate and sustainable world. With every wave he catches and every conservation initiative he supports, Mike inspires others to join him in safeguarding the ocean, reminding us all that our connection with nature can shape our lives in remarkable ways.


Masters Image: “one of my fac pics”



Flotsam International Masters Of Surf Launch
2024 exhibition music panel

Flotsam International Masters Of Surf Launch

Fri, May 3

1:00 pm — 5:00 pm

Kirra Beach House

Flotsam International Masters of Surf Exhibition
free event
2024 exhibition

Flotsam International Masters of Surf Exhibition

Tue, May 7

9:00 am — 4:00 pm

Kirra Hill Community and Cultural Centre