Kauai man survives shark scare

Kauai man survives shark scare

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

Anahola, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Jim Rawlinson is a carpenter and a recreational surfer.

Monday afternoon in Hanalei Bay, the 68-year-old Anahola resident was nearly hammered by a tiger shark that took a bite out of his board.

"The shark hit me on the tail and took the back of my board in his mouth," he said. "It lifted me up in the air and I slid off of the board onto the shark's back. I don't know how long I was on his back - for five to ten seconds."

Rawlinson was surfing a quarter-mile out in one-to-two foot waves. The water was murky.

Surfer Leslie McTaggart saw the shark strike.

"The way I saw it, it looked like the shark had grabbed him and was swinging him around. The water was churning and a huge tail and fin came up."

Marine biologist Terry Lilley was diving nearby. He said the shark probably was hunting sea turtles. He estimates it was a fourteen-footer.

Rawlinson said the tiger shark was a lot longer than his eight-foot board..

"The thing was wider than my board and it had a huge head. I guess I was probably about two maybe three feet off of its head," he said.

"As I paddled toward him there were chunks of his board floating by. That meant the shark was probably under me spitting them out as he went," McTaggart said.

"I was in survival mode. Something told me to swim toward the shallow reef," Rawlinson said. "The next thing you know, I'm looking at my board. It's just bobbing in the water."

Rawlinson retrieved his board, caught another few waves, then paddled in.

He survived the scare without a scratch.

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