Experts: Shark bite off Oahu’s North Shore a reminder for beachgoers to stay vigilant
HALEIWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 30-year-old surfer was seriously injured Wednesday after suffering an apparent shark bite to his leg off Puaena Point on Oahu’s North Shore.
The incident happened about 3 p.m.
Puaena Point is sometimes called the Waikiki of the North Shore because it’s popular with visitors attracted to its large sandy beach and easy waves.
ut longtime surf instructor Bryan Suratt was surprised by the shark encounter.
“We see them a lot,” he said. “First time it’s so close to us.”
Fellow surf instructor Zack Murphy, of the North Shore Ohana School of Surfing, helped bring the man and his wife in. “Took my leash off, tourniquet his leg, put pressure on top of his cut,” said Murphy. “He wanted to walk up here. Best worst-case scenario for getting a shark bite.”
Ocean Safety continued medical treatment until EMS arrived.
Paramedics took over with advanced life support and transported the man to an ER.
Murphy believes the man suffered a bite by a young tiger shark that had been seen in the area.
“It had the jaw on top of the rental board, and it couldn’t have been more than that wide,” he said, holding his hands about a foot and-a-half apart.
“It’s rare. It’s very rare,” said Suratt. “We do see them, don’t get me wrong. Maybe we’ve seen the same one three or four days now, in the lineup.”
“We’ve been doing lessons out here forever, and this is the first time anyone’s got bit, so it’s pretty shocking, actually,” added Aina Kane, another Suratt surf instructor. “We’re pretty surprised.”
Ocean Safety Lt. John Hoogsteden said lifeguards will be in the area on Thursday to warn people. “We’re recommending people stay out of the water, at least in this area, for the immediate future.”
Wednesday’s shark bite incident comes a week and a half after Kevin Kanehe, 50, was bitten by a shark as he was surfing in Hanalei Bay on Kauai. Aggressive sharks have also been spotted this month off Nanakuli and Kahe Point in leeward Oahu, as well as in town at Ala Moana Bowls.
While the number of shark bites is relatively small, they historically happen more during the month of October.
“Tiger sharks are believed to be more abundant during this month, because October, November, is when the large females migrate down from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands,” said Waikiki Aquarium Director Andrew Rossiter.
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