Editorial

Shark attacks

Young surfer Bethany Hamilton is the latest victim in a series of shark attacks in Kaua’i waters. Hokulani Aki was attacked at Brennecke’s Beach in 2002 and Michael Coots at Major’s Bay in 1997.

The attacks have changed the lives of Aki and Coots, who are talented young men showing success in their fields of work, but haven’t deterred them in their search for excellence in their endeavors in life.

Bethany Hamilton’s reputation as both an excellent surfer and a fine young lady with a strong commitment to her local church, as well as her top physical shape, will hopefully give her a strong foundation in adjusting to this big loss in her life, and will help her find new goals to reach where ever her young life might take her.

These three attacks do point out that with the increase in surfers riding waves on Kaua’i and other Hawaiian Islands, as well as the increase in visitors to Hawai’i who go into the water for a swim or surf, the number of shark attacks is rising in the Islands. In addition, a number of surfers have experienced close encounters with sharks that might not be called attacks over the past twenty years. Some say the protection of sea turtles from spearing by divers over the past decades has drawn more sharks into the surf breaks, increasing the number of shark attacks.

There are some ways to make it less likely that you’ll be attacked by a shark while surfing including avoiding murky waters. A South African invention mounted in surfboards that uses an electronic signal to ward off sharks show signs of hope in protecting surfers.

However, for now, their is a danger in Kaua’i’s waters that surfers must face and beware of when they ride Kaua’i’s waves.

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