KAILUA-KONA — A 75-year-old man survived a shark attack Tuesday morning while paddling an outrigger canoe in the waters between Anaehoomalu Bay and Kiholo Bay.
The attack was first reported in a Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources press release, though further details were provided by Ed Texeira, head coach at the Waikoloa Canoe Club. Texeira confirmed the victim of the attack is a member of the club but declined to provide a name before receiving consent.
DLNR’s report had the victim paddling with three other men, but Texeira said it was actually two. The victim and both his companions are experienced paddlers, Texeira said. The victim is also an experienced diver.
Texeira believes the victim’s familiarity with the water was crucial to his survival. As Texeira told it, the man was trailing his two fellow paddlers when he felt a bump. Believing he’d hit a rock, the victim turned and saw the shark. The shark attacked the canoe, knocking the man into the water.
“He was audacious and, I think, smart enough to strike at the shark with his paddle (and scare it away),” Texeira said.
The victim sustained what Texeira guessed to be a six-inch laceration to the leg above the calf from his encounter with the shark. The canoe also suffered damage.
According to the DLNR release, the victim couldn’t identify the type of shark that attacked him but guessed it was roughly the same length as his 12-foot, one-person canoe.
Helped in by his companions, the victim met recreational paddlers returning from an excursion of their own. One of the paddlers was a doctor, Texeira said.
The doctor examined the wound on the beach then opted to drive the victim to North Hawaii Community Hospital rather than wait for an ambulance after determining the victim could make the trip healthily, Texeira said. Someone from the club still called the Hawaii County Fire Department to file an official report of the incident.
The victim was treated at the North Hawaii Community Hospital emergency room. Texeira said he has since been released and is resting at home with his wife.
HFD scanned the area of the reported attack from a helicopter but saw no sign of sharks, according to the release.
The DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources said HFD will conduct a second fly-over today “…to ensure sharks have not moved into more heavily used areas.”
No warning signs have been posted, the release continued, as the area in question is rugged and remote, not heavily trafficked and includes a two-mile hike to reach the shoreline.