By Wendy Osher
(Update: 9:52 a.m. 8/14/2013)
Maui County Ocean Safety and DLNR officials reopened Ka’a Point at Kanahā at 7 a.m. today, Aug. 14, authorities said.
County officials say there was no sighting of any shark in the area this morning.
The temporary closure was implemented yesterday afternoon when a shark attacked an unmanned board about a quarter mile offshore.
DLNR officers were in the process of closing a section of beach at Kaʻa Point on Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 13, after a report of an incident in which a shark apparently bit an unmanned board, witnesses tell Maui Now.
The incident was reported at 2:20 p.m., about a quarter mile off shore of Kaʻa Point, a popular beach for kiteboarding, just west of Kanahā Beach in Central Maui.
No injuries were reported, and the shoreline has been closed for a mile in either direction until dusk.
Morgan Flannery from San Francisco California said she was out kiting and had to swim in because she was having trouble with her kite.
“I swam in, ditched the board because it’s too hard to swim with, and then I met my instructor on land. We were looking out at the board and we saw a shark attack it,” said Flannery.
“It went at it a couple of times,” said Flannery, “and it totally submerged it one of those times. Then,” she said, “I think, figured out that it was not a meal.”
Flannery said she waited for the board to drift into the rocks before recovering it.
“I felt very lucky cause I came right through that same path that the board came through… so I am very thankful today that it was the board and not me,” said Flannery.
Flannery said she does plan to go back in the water, but not tomorrow. “Maybe I’ll wait a day, and get back out Thursday,” she said.
Based on marks left on the board, Flannery said the bite measures about 10 inches. Flannery’s kite instructor, Foster Wick with Aqua Sports Maui, said he thinks the shark could have been 8 to 10 feet, but no official confirmation was made on that estimate. County officials later said the shark was estimated at 10-12 feet, but also had not received an official estimate on size or type of shark involved.
Wick, who has been teaching for five years, said this is the first time he’s ever seen a shark at the location.
According to Wick, Flannery was in the water, about a quarter mile off-shore when she ran into problems with her kite. She did “what’s called a body-drag–trying to get in. So she abandoned her board part way in.”
“It took her a long time to get in, and the board was kind of trailing behind her,” said Wick.
Crews from the Department of Land and Natural Resouces called the remaining kiteboarders to come on shore.
Ocean Safety officers will make a determination early on Wednesday on if the beach will reopen.
County officials say the incident is being handled as an attack on a board.