POIPU — Dylan McWilliams, a visitor from Colorado was attacked by a small shark at Shipwreck’s Beach early Thursday.
McWilliams, a 29-year-old bodyboarder, was surfing in Keoneloa Bay about 7:30 a.m. when he was attacked by an estimated six-foot shark. Spectators say the man was bitten on the right leg while floating east of Shipwreck’s and close to the jumping cliff favored by area fishermen.
Beach-goers said the surfer suffered three small puncture wounds. Emergency responders stopped the initial bleeding. The man sustained non-life threatening injuries and was transported by a private vehicle to seek medical care.
After the event, he posted four photos on social media showing the fresh wound, it being cleaned, and an after photo of the three wounds stiched up.
“First time in the water in Kauai and get tagged by a shark,” McWilliams wrote on the post.
More than 100 people reacted to the post, sending hopes he’ll heal quickly.
“Boy, oh boy, first a bear tries to take off your head and now a shark wants your leg,” one friend posted on his wall. “You are the toughest young man I know.”
One visitor from Southern California who spoke to the victim afterwards said he was attacked while floating on his board. The shark circled and came back at the surfer but was fended off with a flurry of punches and splashes, the visitor said.
The witness said the bodyboarder said he was scared during the incident but not nearly as afraid as when he was attacked by a bear while camping in Colorado a few years ago.
Lifeguards posted “Shark Sighted” signs at the beach warning swimmers to keep out of the water. About a dozen surfers at the main surf break continued to enjoy the small long-period south swell with 2- to 3-foot waves.
The water clarity was slightly murky with the 20-knot east winds, but it wasn’t evident what type of shark bit the surfer or what provoked the early morning attack.
Per standard protocol, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources was notified of the incident. Lifeguards will reassess the water Friday morning to determine if it is safe for swimming.
For updates on beach conditions, speak to a county lifeguard or call the Ocean Safety Bureau at 241-4984.
John Steinhorst, reporter, can be reached at 245-0435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.