Not letting fear win.
Every Monday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place.
Today’s MCM title belongs to Steve Robles who jumped back into the ocean just six weeks after being attacked by a shark in hopes of teaching others not to let fear stop them from doing what they love.
Robles grew up in Redondo and Hermosa Beach and is currently residing in Lomita. At just six years old, he began to swim competitively after his older sister signed them up for a swimming team and continued until college.
Today, he likes to swim regularly in the morning with the masters group from 5:00am-6:30am. He goes to the pool about 3 days a week and for the past 3 years, on Saturday mornings, he swims with an open water group and swims from Hermosa pier to Manhattan pier
On July 5th, 2014, Robles was attacked by a shark when he was with 14 of the swimmers from his open water group. 10 of the swimmers were ahead of him by 30 seconds and didn't know what had happened until they were nearing the end of the swim. Three of the other swimmers were behind him by about 5-15 seconds. They were the first ones to rescue him from the encounter.
Robles says, “I did see the shark from underneath me. It was about 12 feet underneath me and then surfaced right in front of me.” However, he quickly realized it was too close to him at that moment and it bit him.
He says the bite held on him for five seconds while he grabbed its nose to pry it off. “I did think that it was one of my last moments so I had no time to be terrified and just had to fight with everything I had in me,” he says.
He had deep lacerations on his right torso area and a deep cut into his right thumb which cut into his artery. The bleeding from the artery didn't stop until about 3 hours later and he lost sensation to his thumb for about a month. He says his torso area still itches like a mosquito bite when he touches the scars, even to this day.
Fortunately, Robles recovered from the bite and was back in the ocean within six weeks. He says, “I felt it was important to get back in right away to overcome the experience and to let others know not to give up something they love doing because of one freak event.”
Others can see the reckless actions of the fisherman who agitated the shark on video. There are over 2 million hits of the actual event on YouTube, and can be found by simply typing in "Manhattan Beach Shark Attack"
Since the incident, Robles has continued to swim and is going to publicly speak about the shark attack on the Catalina Channel swim as a spiritual testimony. He says, “I want to share with people how God is always present and ready to provide his hand of protection on all of us. We in turn need to give our lives to following him. Once I experienced this miracle, I began to clearly understand I am here for a higher purpose!”
Steve continues to swim because he says it is one of the only things that keeps his body from feeling the process of aging. “I am 52 and I can clearly see that I don't move around like I once did at age 30,” he says.
This week Steve will be on a new TV show called, "To Tell the Truth.” It is a revised variety show from the 60's with a modern day twist and will air on ABC. There will be 3 celebrity panelist trying to determine who is the "real" shark attack survivor amongst 2 other impersonators. The sneak peek to the series begins Tuesday night at 8:00pm and his segment will air at 10:00 p.m.
You can also listen to his radio interview with the former mayor of Manhattan Beach on Monday June 13th from 1:00pm-2:00pm "Powell to the People" here. They will be discussing the multiple recent shark sightings along the coast and my encounter with the great white shark attack.
Despite the challenges Steve has faced, he is able to remain positive. Here Steve is in a costume he created for Halloween.
Thank you, Steve, for using your “freak event” as a way to bring positivity, change and hope to others.
*Photos have been given by Robles in addition to various downloaded from websites*