Bodyboarder unhurt in shark attack off Hideaways Beach

A shark attack that occurred at about 8 a.m. Monday off Hideaways Beach in Princeville left a bodyboarder uninjured.

“Dispatch called to notify us that a shark had taken a boogie board from a surfer at Hideaways in Princeville,” stated a log report from the Hanalei Fire Station.

The report said a shark grabbed the bodyboard and the man took off for shore. The bodyboarder got to shore uninjured, but his board went under, according to lifeguard supervisor Norman Hunter.

Hunter did not know the man’s name, and police were not immediately available to comment on the incident.

Hideaways is a surf and snorkeling site popular with locals and tourists. Accessed by a trail between the Pali Ke Kua condominiums and Princeville Hotel parking lot, Hideaways is about a half-mile west of a reef below the Sea Lodge condominiums where bodyboarder Joe Thomson lost his right hand in a shark attack in the mid-1980s.

Lifeguards from Tower 1 at Hanalei Beach Park were called to Hideaways via jetski, Hunter said. The Ocean Safety Bureau issued a warning to beachgoers and surfers and sent lifeguards to do checks on jetski during the morning.

State Department of Land and Natural Resources Aquatics Biologist Don Heacock said that sharks don’t eat boogie boards and that if the shark did bite the board, the whole thing wouldn’t have disappeared. Heacock said that the majority of shark attacks in Hawai’i are from tiger sharks.

Heacock called it an “old husbands’ tale” that tiger sharks think people on bodyboards are sea turtles, saying that with their golf ball-sized brains, tiger sharks like to sample just about anything.

There have been several other reports to the KPD of shark sightings in the area, but according to Hunter, this incident seems to be the closest thing in impact to the shark attack involving Hoku Aki that happened earlier this year.

Aki, 17, of Koloa, lost his left foot and part of leg in a shark attack on March 26 at Brennecke’s Beach in Po’ipu. Reports stated that he was bodyboarding in murky waters after a rainstorm. On March 31, three blacktip sharks were sighted off Kekaha Beach. On June 12, a shark snapped at a surfer’s board at ‘Anini Point, according to a report from the Kaua’i Police Department. The surfer returned to shore uninjured.

Heacock listed some ways to reduce the risk of facing a shark:

– Don’t go into the water if you are bleeding, have a cut or are menstruating.

– Don’t carry speared fish or tie them to your body;

– Don’t swim in dirty water or if there’s been a sewage spill nearby;

– Don’t swim at a beach with dead or decomposing marine animals or fish on shore.

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