For the third time since Saturday, a shark has encountered a surfer in waters off Maui.
The latest incident occurred Wednesday morning about 200 yards offshore fronting Waipuilani Beach Park in front of Maui Sunset in Kihei in about five to six feet of murky water.
Kim Lawrence and Terry Lee were out stand-up paddle boarding around 10:00 a.m. for Lee's birthday. That's when Lee said she saw a giant gray tiger shark open its mouth and knock Lawrence off of her paddle board.
"It bit down on her board right here, as you can see all the marks,” Lee said pointing to Lawrence's board.
“She falls off and the shark slowly goes this way under her…and she's struggling to get up so you can't see if the shark's got her legs or she's getting up on her own,” said Lee.
Lee said the shark's head was about two feet wide and Lawrence said she felt as if she got bucked off a horse.
"Felt the shark rub up against me. My thought was, ‘Oh my God…he's gonna bite my leg.' My instinct was to kick. So I kicked really hard with this heel…still trying to get on my board to get my momentum…so I stepped right off of his back to get back on my board," Lawrence said.
Lawrence managed to escape without any injuries. She said she didn't know the shark actually bit her board until she started to paddle back to shore.
Officials with the Department of Land and Natural Resources measured a 14-inch bite mark.
Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers closed the area from the old pier across from the old Suda Store to Kalama Beach Park.
DLNR had crews at the location all day Wednesday monitoring the site and they will reassess the area on Thursday to see if it is safe to reopen.
On Tuesday, a stand-up paddler's board was bitten by a shark in Kahului Harbor. The 58-year-old paddler was unharmed.
And on Saturday, a surfer in murky water in Maalaea Harbor shoved his surf board into a shark's mouth to fend it off. In all three cases, DLNR officials say the waters were brown from storm runoff. The department wants to remind all beach goers to stay out of the water if it is murky.
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