SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The man who was swept out to sea by a rogue wave speaks about his terrifying experience.
Amado Simon isn't letting the scary moment change his life. He's back at work two days later with a dislocated shoulder and said he has overcome a lifelong fear of the ocean.
"To be honest I can tell you right here, I'm not afraid to be here right now and this is my job and I love what I do. Hey, I'm back," said Simon as he looked out over the water.
Simon was working alongside four other employees at the Beachside Bar-Cafe Saturday, putting up boards to protect the restaurant windows from stormy waves.
"They had their back to the ocean while they were putting the boards up, they looked around and it was right on them and they said, 'run,' and the guys scattered but it was too late," said Peter Crick, the restaurant general manager.
Simon said the wave hit him from behind and his head hit the board he was working on.
"It just dragged me into the ocean. For a matter of five, 10 seconds, I didn't know where I was," he said.
He tried to swim back to shore but he felt his arm dislocate. A second wave pushed him towards the pier and he tried to grab a pipe.
"But I couldn't hold on because my arm was pretty much gone, I had no energy whatsoever. So I let go and I was pretty much giving up," he said.
A third wave sent him near the sand.
"That wave just spat him up right up underneath the pier," said Crick.
Simon knew he had to fight.
"All I had in my mind was actually my kids. My 3-year-old and my 13-year-old. And just praying that I would be able to get out of the water. Otherwise, you know, it would have been the end of it," he said.
The other employees were scanning the beach looking for Simon. When they finally spotted him, he was soaking and exhausted.
"But we got him out, thank heavens because he would have been gone for sure. Another big wave or a set, I don't think he would have made it for sure," said Crick.
Simon has his arm in a sling and is covered in bruises, but all of that is nothing that compares with what he went through to survive.
"I just pretty much got lucky. That's what it was. And I'm lucky that I'm alive," he said.