Val Muscalu was attacked by a crocodile whilst sitting in the lineup at Playa Grande, just north of the popular surfing capital of Tamarindo in Costa Rica.
All of a sudden I felt something clamp down on my foot and pull me right off my board. I did not even see it coming.
Val, being an ex-national water polo player had the strength to eventually kick his foot free from the crocs grasp and gave a warning shout of to the other surfers in the line up.
"I then sprinted for the beach swimming backstroke so I could see everything coming at me. Once on the beach, other surfers awaited to attend to me. They wrapped my rash guard around my foot and helped me to the parking lot. I must have been in complete shock because I walked the whole way back."
After making the journey up the beach, a local drove Val to a private clinic where he received a total of 40 stitches in his left foot.
"It was not until the next morning when I woke up that I realised that I escaped death the day before. My foot was the size of a watermelon and then the pain really kicked in.
I truly believe that many of those surfers out there that afternoon would not have broke free from that croc. I am 5'10 185 lbs and that lizard on steroids gave me the fight of my life."
The largest males can reach up to six or seven metres.
The American crocodile's preferred habitat is fresh or slightly salty waters of river mouths and mangroves, and it can grow up to 20 feet long. It is listed as endangered in nearly all parts of North, Central and South America. The largest males can reach up to six or seven metres but it is uncommon to see one that size.
Since the attack, Val has been more aware of the dangers in the water around the area and believes tourism may be contributing the growing confidence of Costa Rica's crocodiles.
"I believe the growing problem is due to tour guides that bring tourists by boat in the river and feed the crocodiles. The crocs are getting more comfortable around humans and are starting to be spotted around the river mouth at the entrance of the ocean."
Attacks on humans by American crocodiles are rare but not unprecedented: a 13-year-old boy was killed in Costa Rica in 2007 and there is another account of a surfer being attacked in the lineup at Tamarindo in 2013.