An outrigger canoe club coach may have escaped a shark attack unscathed, but he also got a clear message from the guy in the gray suit: “Run me over and I’ll bite your tail.”
Kukui‘ula Outrigger head coach Keone Miyake and a small group of paddlers were doing a training paddle from Kalapaki in Nawiliwili, to Kukui‘ula in Po‘ipu, on Dec. 21 when something unexpected happened off Makahuena Point on the South Shore.
“I was surfing on a wave and I ran into a 7-foot to 8-foot shark,”Miyake said. “After the collision, he spun around and charged me.”
Miyake said he tried to paddle away, but the shark was able to grab the canoe’s rudder.
“He was shaking it and trying to flip me over,” he said.
At that point, Miyake swung the paddle at the shark and yelled at it, causing the shark to swim away.
Miyake said this wasn’t the first shark attack this year that he knows of.
“There were a couple of (shark) attacks earlier this year,” Miyake said, adding that the attacks took place in the South Shore. “Mine was the third one.”
He said he and his team members always try to paddle close together and in pairs for safety reasons.
It also wasn’t the first time a shark tried to make a meal out of a canoe. Miyake said a similar incident happened with one of his friends near Palama Pond, South Shore, when the paddler also ran into a shark. The shark got mad and attacked the canoe, but the paddler apparently escaped unscathed, Miyaka said.
As for Miyake, he can now say he survived a shark attack. But the shark is the one with bragging rights — Miyake’s canoe rudder might have to be replaced.
The experienced waterman, however, seems OK with it.
He didn’t blame the shark, rather the increasing number of people in the ocean.
“I’m not mad at the shark because it’s his home,” Miyake said. “I’m just happy that he only grabbed my rudder and not me. Mahalo ke Akua.”
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