10/15/2005 Clayton Sado ( Hawaii ) No Injury

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10/15/2005 Clayton Sado ( Hawaii ) No Injury

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HONOKOWAI – Lifelong surfer Clayton Sado was unhurt, but not unaffected by a shark he encountered Thursday afternoon in waters off Honokowai.

Saturday, October 15, 2005 11:59 AM

Surfer: ’Happy I’m alive’
HONOKOWAI – Lifelong surfer Clayton Sado was unhurt, but not unaffected by a shark he encountered Thursday afternoon in waters off Honokowai.
“I’m happy I’m alive,” Sado said Friday in retelling his experience from the
day before. “I still have adrenaline in me. When I think about it, I can get real pumped up about it.”
The 22-year-old from Kahului, who surfs practically every day, said he planned to take a break from the ocean for about a week.
He also has no intention of returning to the ocean by Em¬
bassy Vacation Resorts, formerly the Embassy Suites, where he fought off a shark that left teeth marks in his board in the incident about 100 yards offshore.
“I’m thinking there’s no need to go back there,” he said. “It’s a wake-up call . . . you just got to respect the place.”
Sado said he’s been surfing since he was a child and had never encountered a shark until Thursday. He had been swimming at Honokowai before, but this was the first time this fall season that he’s been out there.
Russell Sparks, with the state Aquatics Division, said his agency wasn’t notified of the shark encounter until Friday morning. Normally, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources would post warning signs of the shark sighting and possibly even close the beach, but given the notification was “so far after the event,” no action was taken. A state conservation enforcement officer did survey the ocean area on Friday morning.
Sparks said he plans to follow up by interviewing Sado, an air-conditioning installer, next week.
In his recounting Friday, Sado said he went surfing with a buddy on Thursday immediately after work. The two were in the water off Honokowai sometime around 3 p.m.
With good surf from a big northwest swell, they had surfed for several hours. Sado got tired around 6 p.m. and decided to return to the shore. He was paddling with his stomach on his 9-foot board when something troubling happened.
“I feel something hit my board and then my knee,” he said. “I was thinking it was a big turtle.”
Sado likened the impact to a sledge hammer being slammed down on his board. “It was a hard hit, like a tug,” he recalled.
Sado immediately turned around and saw a shark, which was about an arm’s length away from him. He pushed the shark off to his right while paddling fast toward the shore.
The shark reacted by swimming away from Sado, but not before the surfer was able to see a gray, blunt head and estimate the length of the animal at about 7 feet. “I can’t tell for sure but it looked like a tiger shark,” Sado said.
“It’s a shark,” confirmed Sparks, who had not spoken to Sado but saw photographs of teeth marks in the surfboard. Sparks said sometimes indentations on a surfboard can provide clues on the type of shark encountered, but there wasn’t enough information for him to know in this case.
At 5 feet 8 inches tall and 160 pounds, Sado said he was no match for the shark he saw in the water. He told his swimming partner, who was surfing about 15 yards away from him, about the attack and that they should both get out of the water.
His surfing partner had seen Sado splashing in the water, but didn’t know what to make of it.
“He thought I was playing around. We goof around a lot . . . but not like that.”
Once they reached shore, they informed the few people on the shore about the incident.
No one called authorities until Friday morning when Sado’s mother reported it to the county’s ocean safety officers. “I just wanted to get out of there,” Sado said. “It was late. I figured . . .”
There have been other shark encounters reported earlier this year that are similar to the one experienced by Sado. State aquatics specialists recorded an incident on May 2 when a surfer in Kuau had an encounter with a shark that left teeth impressions consistent with a tiger shark on his surfboard. He was unhurt.
On May 14, a shark bit into a kayak in turbid waters in North Kihei. Again, the individual in the kayak was unscathed.
On June 18, a swimmer in waters off Kamaole Beach Park II punched a shark when it approached him in the water. The shark moved away and the swimmer got to shore safely. Ocean safety officers closed off the beach for several
hours after the incident and posted shark sighting signs.
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