Shark attack victim vows to surf again

Shark attack victim vows to surf again

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

KIHEI (KHNL) - A surfer bitten by a shark in waters off Maui Monday says, without any hesitation, he will surf again.

The shark did not know what it was up against with Scott Henrich. A golf teaching pro, triathlete and beach volleyball player, Henrich dug deep and battled back, making it out of the water alive.

For the past 10 years, Scott Henrich and his wife have been rescuing sick and injured birds. But on Monday, the 54-year-old surfer and triathlete was the one who needed rescuing.

"I was the first one in the food chain yesterday," the shark attack victim said.

After enjoying Maui's south shore swell on Sunday, the Kihei resident returned to the surf spot known as Kalama Bowls at about 6 am Monday. He says he paddled out some 300 yards from shore and was sitting on his surfboard for maybe a minute, when the shark attacked him.

"A big head just came out of the water and clamped on my leg and that was it, didn't make any noise and then just bit down on it," he said. "The first thing I thought was get it off my leg, so I hit it on top of the head twice."

After freeing himself from the shark, Henrich laid down on his surfboard and caught a wave to shore. He managed to limp out of the water and hobbled all the way across the park to South Kihei Road, where he flagged down a motorist.

"You learn a lot about yourself when you train for a triathlon or a marathon," he said. "And you know how to push yourself through pain."

The realtor received about 100 stitches for his wounds and was back home by mid-day.

"My wife gets upset because I keep getting blood all over the house," he said. "So she doesn't want me moving around."

You can see bite marks on his custom-made Hamilton surfboard and his swim trunks.

"I definitely did some praying last night and I did a lot of reflecting," Henrich said. "You learn a lot about situations like this, about how lucky you are."

Shark experts took a look at the surfboard to try to determine the approximate size and type of shark that attacked.

Henrich says there was a man on a wave ski nearby who initially tried to tow him in. He's grateful to that man and the others who came to his aid.