Maui News

VIDEO: Male Surfer Injured by Apparent Shark Bite at Honolua Bay

December 8, 2020, 9:26 AM HST
* Updated December 8, 3:50 PM
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By Wendy Osher

An adult male surfer was taken to the Maui Memorial Medical Center after suffering from an apparent shark bite at Honolua Bay on Maui, where a surf competition was set to get underway at 10 a.m. today.

As of 12:45 p.m., the man had emerged from surgery and was listed in stable condition.

Sources tell Maui Now that the incident occurred at around 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 about 20 yards offshore near a river mouth area.  Ocean Safety crews hired for the nearby surf event were reportedly in the water and  quickly tended to the injured surfer, who is not believed to have been involved in the WSL Women’s professional surfing competition.

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We have unconfirmed reports that the individual suffered injuries to his left side lower extremities.

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Safety crews quickly got to the man and transported him to shore where they began CPR.

The DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement reports that a man, 50-60 years-old was paddling out from the old ramp in the bay.  DOCARE reports ocean conditions were poor due to high surf. The man was taken to the hospital and admitted for surgery.

The Maui Pro has been called off for today and the Maui Police Department has closed the beach from DT Flemming all the way to Punalau Beach “Windmills.”

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The organizers of the event voluntarily suspended the competition, as did the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, which had issued a Marine Ocean Water Event permit for it.

Crews plan to reassess conditions tomorrow at noon.

The incident comes just a week and a half after a Thanksgiving Day incident at Honokōwai in West Maui in which a 35-year-old California woman suffered severe trauma injuries to her front torso in an apparent shark bite incident.

In the Nov. 26 incident, the woman was swimming 100-yards off-shore of Mahina Surf Condominiums when a companion near-by saw a fin in the water and reported the woman was bitten by a shark.

Officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources say that for centuries, traditional Hawaiian chants have warned about an increased risk of shark bites in the fall, when the wiliwili tree blooms.

In previous reports, DLNR Aquatics Division officials have advised: “The best thing ocean users can do to minimize their risk of shark bites is to utilize beaches with lifeguards, stay near other people, and don’t go too far from shore.  Also, avoid murky water and areas near stream mouths.”  More safety tips can be found at the Division’s shark web site,   hawaiisharks.org.

Documented incidents reported this year by DLNR include:

  • Sept. 6, 2020 at 4 p.m.: Hawai‘i Island, Puakō, Kapuniau Point, approximately 100 yards from shore. An individual was snorkeling in eight feet of turbid water when a Requiem shark estimated at 8-10 feet in length bit the individual, leaving lacerations to the victims left ankle.
  • June 1, 2020 at 8:25 a.m.: Kaua‘i, Kekaha, Davidson’s Beach, approximately 100 yards from shore.  A surfer suffered lacerations to their right hand when they were bit by an unknown species in about 4-6 feet of water.  The individual was surfing in turbid waters.
  • Feb. 5, 2020 at 9:45 a.m. Maui, Kīhei, Wailea Beach, approximately 300 yards from shore. The individual was standup paddle boarding in about 40 feet from shore when their SUP board was bit by a 10-foot tiger shark.
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Maui Now graphic.

Shark bite pics. (12.8.20) PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

Honolua Bay, shark bite incident. (12.8.20) PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

Shark bite pics. (12.8.20) PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

Honolua Bay, shark bite incident. (12.8.20) PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

Shark bite pics. (12.8.20) PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

Honolua Bay, shark bite incident. (12.8.20) PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

Shark bite pics. (12.8.20) PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

Shark bite pics. (12.8.20) PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

Honolua Bay, shark bite incident. (12.8.20) PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

Shark bite pics. (12.8.20) PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

Honolua Bay, shark bite incident. (12.8.20) PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

Honolua Bay, shark bite incident. (12.8.20) PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

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