Shark on Board
It seems that everyone is paddle-boarding these days in Maui. Mike’s nephew Robert was in Maui this week, visiting from Colorado, and Mike took him to Kanaha Beach in Kahului to teach him to stand-up paddle. The very next day, a stand-up paddle-border was attacked by a shark at Kanaha beach. David Peterson of Pukalani, 55, was uninjured, because he beat the shark off with his paddle. But what’s the reason for the attack?
I went straight to the source, surfer extraordinaire Mike Turkington! to see what lies behind it. He explained, “Think about it. What is a shark’s favorite snack? The green sea turtle. As a turtle moves through the water and surfaces, it makes a slapping sound on the water. This is a similar sound to a surfer paddling, or a standup paddle-border’s paddle moving through the water. All of these sounds get a shark’s attention.”
However, kite boarders and windsurfers are not making the same type of sound, because their boards move so quickly through the water. So unless they fall off and are just bobbing in the water, a shark isn’t going to be as interested.
David Peterson said he was on top of his board, and when the shark bit it, he fell off and landed on top of the shark. The shark had hold of his board and would not let go of it, so Peterson hit the shark with his paddle as he was in the water. The shark released, but then came between him and the board. With his hands, David pushed the shark away. When he was interviewed on KHON2 news, he said he scrambled to get back on his board while the shark circled, all the while fending him off with his paddle. The shark finally gave up and swam away.
Peterson said he felt bad because all of his friends who were surfing had to get out of the water when the lifeguards closed the beach. The sign on the beach said “Shark Sighted.” (I am laughing because I am dictating this to my iPad, and it auto-filled in with “Shark Excited.” Probably quite true.)
While the ocean can be a surfer’s playground, it’s also a feeding ground. So go ahead and enjoy your water sports, but remember: the safest form of surfing these days seems to be the one that involves a paddle that can also be used as a weapon.
A hui hou! If you’d like to have this blog delivered to your inbox, please click the follow button on the Home page. Mahalo for stopping by!