Maui father, son recount close encounter with shark that sunk their kayak

Father, son escape injury after shark reportedly sinks kayak, DLNR says

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A father and son are lucky to be alive after a shark ripped their kayak out from underneath them while they were whale watching in waters off Maui on Tuesday.

“They think it was a great white, which is super rare here on Maui, usually we have tiger sharks, but because the pointed nose,” said Daniel Sullivan.

Sullivan and his 15-year-old son Tristan were kayaking around 2 p.m. about a mile off shore of Ukumehame, an area also known as “Thousand Peaks” when they were violently rocked from their two-man kayak.

“All of a sudden it just came out of nowhere and just flipped us with a lot of force,” said Tristan.

“When its mouth rose up and bit into the kayak, it was like a scene out of a movie. The water streaming off of it, these giant teeth coming right at us, and then the way it just pushed the entire boat up halfway and pulled us back down into the water,” Daniel said.

Daniel said they went overboard while the shark was thrashing their kayak in the water.

“It was just inches away from my leg,” he said. “It was really aggressive.”

Daniel managed to fight the shark off with his paddle while he and his son swam for 35 minutes until they got to shore.

“I was like, we’re going to die,” said Tristan. “My dad hit the shark with his paddle so I’m pretty sure that scared it away long enough for us to get away.”

Daniel said the shark was 10 to 13 feet long and the bite mark on their kayak is about a foot and a half wide.

Authorities recovered the kayak so scientists will be able to figure what kind of shark it was and how big it was by its bite mark.

Daniel and Tristan are both grateful to be alive.

The last confirmed sighting of a Great White was in 2019 off Oahu’s North Shore.

Shark warning signs have since been posted in the area. The DLNR added that beaches will be closed from the Pali Lookout to Lone Pines in Olowalu until at least noon Wednesday.

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