Teenage surfer opens up about shark attack

Pohoiki Shark Victim Speaks
Jimmy Napeahi, 16
Jimmy Napeahi, 16

The victim of a shark attack on the Big Island over the weekend spoke out to reporters on Monday, calling himself "lucky" to have been spared more serious injury.

16-year-old Jimmy "Ulu Boy" Napeahi was surfing in an area known as "Shacks" near the Pohoiki Boat Ramp at around 2 p.m. on Sunday when he was bitten on both legs by the shark, which he later said was gray and around eight feet long.

"It hit me so fast I didn't know what was going on," Napeahi told Hawaii News Now on Monday. "I don't know how I got bit by a shark. But I didn't even see my leg, didn't see how bad my wounds are."

Napeahi says he was actually on his way in to shore when the shark attacked him, anxious about missing a flight to Honolulu so that he could compete in a pro-am surf contest that was held in Waikiki.

Napeahi's mother Claire says she remembers telling her son to ride one more wave before hearing the sound of her son screaming.

"I could see the shark through the wave," Claire Napeahi said.

Napeahi says he was lucky that he had a group of friends around him that helped bring him to shore and stop the bleeding with a surf leash-turned-tourniquet.

"I was really lucky," said Napeahi. "God sent. Didn't get ligaments, just tore my muscles."

Surfers at the beach where Napeahi was attacked said warning signs were still up on Monday, but that the vibe at Pohoiki was different than usual.

"I kind of feel sketchy," said Hondo Mizutani. "Not too many people out for some reason. Nice and glassy."

Napeahi, though, says he is already planning his rehab sessions and plotting a way to stay on track to becoming a pro surfer.

"Have a good positive attitude," said Napeahi. "For the future, heal properly and get back on main events."

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