Summer of the Shark

Series of shark attacks hit Hawaii

| posted on August 20, 2013
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Tiger sharks are thought to be responsible for each of the recent attacks. Photo: Alma

A recent string of shark attacks in Hawaii have left many surfers concerned, bewildered, and a little less amped for that solo session at dusk. Over the course of the past month alone, the Center for Shark Research has recorded five attacks in the islands, the most recent occurring Sunday afternoon when a 16-year-old male was attacked on the Big Island. The latest incident brought the year’s total to eight attacks.

In 2012, 10 attacks were recorded in the islands, more than double the average of three to four typically seen in Hawaii in a year. Shark experts in the islands aren’t pointing to a single factor that can be attributed to the increased number of incidences, but believe that the latest cluster of attacks are a coincidence. However, that’s not providing a lot of comfort for Hawaiian surfers.

“In the wake of all that’s been happening, I feel like people in the lineup are a little bit more paranoid when it comes to sharks,” said Oahu’s Race Skelton. “I’ve noticed that at my home break here in Honolulu, you don’t see as many people surfing until dark anymore. It’s not something that’s specifically talked about, but when the lineup starts to empty 45 minutes before sunset, you have a pretty good idea why.”

In Sunday’s attack on the Big Island, Jimmy Ulualoha “Ulu-boy” Napeahi, 16, an accomplished amateur surfer, sustained multiple lacerations and puncture wounds to his legs when he was bitten by what was presumed to be a tiger shark.

“I was surfing my home break on the Big Island at a spot called Dead Trees when I was attacked,” said Napeahi from the hospital. “I’d heard about all of the other attacks recently, but I never thought that there would be an attack over here. We’d never had anything like this happen here before.”

Napeahi recalls the moment when the shark attacked as being quick and ferocious. “I had just duck-dived a wave and was sitting on my board when I was attacked. It grabbed both my legs and pulled me under. Instantly, I knew it was a shark and threw a few punches. It was gnawing on me and pulling me under, but it eventually let me go and I was able to get to shore with the help of my friends. I was terrified. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. But the doctors said that I should heal up OK. I had 14 bite marks and 30 lacerations and more than 180 stitches, but it didn’t sever any nerves so with about eight months of rehab, I can be back in the water again.”

Just four days prior, a 20-year-old German tourist had her arm severed while she was snorkeling on Maui. The woman is currently on life support in a Maui hospital. The day before that incident, also on Maui, a shark bit a woman’s kiteboard. In late July, a surfer had his leg bitten on Oahu by what was estimated to be an 8- to 10-foot tiger shark.

In response to the spike of attacks over the last two years, the Department of Land and Natural Resources announced that they will be conducting a two-year long study on tiger sharks off the coast of Maui. It’s important to note that this announcement was not made as a specific response to the latest attacks.

“As we look at numbers of incidents per year over the last two decades or so, we see a lot of variation from year to year, including years with no incidents or just one incident,” said William Aila of the DLNR. “Recently, there’s been an average of about three or four incidents per year. But every few years there’s a little spike, and we’ve now seen an unprecedented spike.”

The study will be led by marine biologist Carl Mayer and will begin next month.

“Who knows if all these attacks were caused by a change in the ecosystem or if they were just a coincidence,” said Kirk Ziegler, a North Shore lifeguard. “I really don’t know and I can’t speculate, But with that in mind—and I can’t stress this enough—always surf and/or swim with a buddy. If the water looks murky and sketchy, go somewhere else. It’s not worth the risk…no matter how good the waves are.”


16-year-old Jimmy Ulualoha “Ulu-boy” Napeahi on the path to full recovery in a Maui hospital. Photo: @Uluboi

After the attack, 16-year-old Jimmy Ulualoha “Ulu-boy” Napeahi recovering in a Big Island hospital. Photo: @Uluboi

  • dingball

    its the fuckin gmo’s the sharks are pissed too

  • glennintune

    Heal up nicely Ulu-Boy. And tell those punks who are raping the sea to realize that they are putting our lives in danger now!

  • pablo

    10 attacks for 100.000 surfers or more a year in the water i think its not so incredible

    • steveo77

      its 400% more than before

  • Randall

    Heal quick bro.

  • govtislettingusdown

    we pillage our oceans and left the sharks no food, its not their faults but our own

  • Bughman

    Lets start shark fishing near shore, and getting rid of seals, the main reason sharks are in the north east waters for all of our surfing safety, for years seals were hunted for meat and fur but lately all things politically correct have taken precedence over safety. Look at the seals taking over marinas in San Diego, and in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with 15 foot Whites lingering near shore, you cannot even swim there safely due to increased shark populations. Seals don’t pay taxes. We do sorry charley. Plenty of food out to sea, reduce seal populations and sharks to elsewhere.

    • noodles

      ^ = 0 IQ

    • Scott Charles Sansenbach

      What a bunch of nonsense. There are millions of seals and sea lions in Southern California and very few attacks despite having hundreds of thousands of humans in the water every day during Summer. The ocean belongs to wildlife. If you can’t handle the risk, stay on dry land.
      Sounds like Ulu Boy is a true fighter. Get well quick!

    • karmaportrait

      best troll of this thread so far

    • CJT

      You’re ignorant about how the ocean functions. Our survival depends on properly functioning ecosystems. Sharks keep populations in balance and are essential. We enter the surf and we enter their environment. Try to read a creditable book about how ecosystems function to get a clue.

  • Kainalu

    Interesting comments. Sharks as we know are one of the apex predators in our oceans. When a predators food supply is cut so is the population of the predator, ie. less food equals less breeding = less sharks. For years now it has been illegal to harvest sea turtles and for a good reason. As such the turtle population in the Hawaiian islands has increased significantly. More food=turtles (and a key food source for Hawaiian Tiger sharks), the better sharks eat, the more pups they have, therefore the shark population increases.

    It is a solid example of the food chain shrinking and expanding. The more sharks in the water increases the odds of an encounter. Simple math I think.


  • jonnie austen

    the state of Hawai’i has commissioned (because that’s what bureaucracies do, commission expensive studies) “shark scientists” to study the recent flurry of (mistaken) shark bites, especially along the western shores of maui, hawai’i and o’ahu, to determine the cause, if any, for these attacks.

    i am an hawaiian ali’i, the great great nephew of queen ka’ahumanu, the wife of kamehameha the great and the woman who ruled our nation and kingdom when my uncle kamehameha retired from public life after he united all the hawaiian islands into a single kingdom. my ali’i ohana lineage goes back to the first settlers from Tahiti who founded Hawai’i more than two thousand years ago and even further back then that into early tahitian history.

    polynesians have untold thousands of years of close contact and daily interaction with sharks. they are our aumakua, our kupuna and our ohana. we love and respect them and we leave them to live peacefully in their ocean home. no hawaiian EVER intentionally hurts or kills sharks and they too NEVER intentionally hurt or kill hawaiians.

    whenever we fish it is our tradition to first ask permission to take only enough fish to feed our families (sustainability) and then to offer our aumakua the best part of our catch in thanks for their hospitality. in return they allow us to fish in their domain and even lead our wa’a to the best fishing grounds. we’ve interacted with them in just this way since our ancestors first settled the islands of the pacific very, very long ago.

    it is a well known fact to every hawaiian who knows their culture that there are certain areas on the western, leeward coasts of every island that are sacred to our aumakua. and there are certain times of the year when our aumakua warn us not to venture into these waters. we respectfully obey their warnings and stay away during these times. we even warn the westerners and the american haole tourists to stay out of these waters during those times. but they ignore our warnings thinking that we are just being “silly and superstitious natives”. it has proven to be a very costly mistake for them to make.

    the result of their ignorance is that every year people are bitten and sometimes die as a result of entering these waters during the sacred times. the state of Hawai’i is well aware of our tradition. they’ve also been warned many times about this very issue. but they refuse to acknowledge that the hawaiians and in fact all polynesians have a vast knowledge base about sharks and shark behavior as a result of our having established a close, trusting and respectful relationship with sharks which comes from interacting with them every day over many, many millennia.

    instead the state would rather waste the taxpayers money to commission a study by western scientists who have only been “studying” shark behavior for just over one century.

    unfortunately the state study will yield no definitive explanation for the recent spate of shark attacks because no one will ever ask us, the one’s with the well-founded knowledge about this specific issue. the expensive report will be shelved, nothing will be done, innocent people will continue to be bitten, some will die and, in a few years the state will commission yet another expensive study of shark behavior.

    the ocean will turn red from the blood of innocents because the pale ones refuse to acknowledge the superior wisdom and experience of my people about our beloved mano aumakua.

    auwe na ho’i e.

    • Morgan Sierra

      I don’t think that is superstitious at all. The native Hawaiians know the islands and the surrounding waters better than anybody because they have lived there for thousands of years. All that knowledge was gained over time. The government should listen to what the natives say. They won’t but they should.

    • Shawn

      Can you please be more informative and specific about when and where to stay out of the water since not everyone is going to get the chance to speak to you? Mahalo.

      • jonnie austen

        hi shawn,

        sure, i can be more informative and specific about the dangerous shark areas on each island. on the western side of each of the main hawaiian islands there are areas of the coastal ocean which are “kapu” or forbidden because they are sacred areas to our sharks. on maui this kapu area stretches from kihei to olowalu, on the big island of Hawai’i the kapu area along the western coast stretches from the old kona airport to hapuna beach and on o’ahu the kapu area runs from pearl harbor to nanakuli.

        there are other kapu areas on different parts of all of the main hawaiian islands. the best way to find out the kapu areas on specific parts of each island is to seek out the kupuna (wise elders) in the area. the ones who have fished, surfed or paddled canoe in the area all their lives. hawaiian kupuna are always willing to share their knowledge with anyone who respects our culture enough to ask before they enter the ocean. but the “state” of Hawai’i will never officially acknowledge or confirm the danger in these areas because they are more concerned with protecting the tourist industry by NOT publicizing the danger of shark attack in specific areas of the ocean throughout the hawaiian islands (yes, this is the same convoluted logic that the mayor of the fictitious amity island used in the book and film series “jaws”) than they are with protecting the lives of unknowing, mainly caucasian, visitors to Hawai’i..

        finally the so-called “shark experts” that the state is paying thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to consult are, by and large, caucasian scientists who have only been “studying” sharks for a few decades while our kupuna have the knowledge and experience of a lifetime of daily close interaction with sharks in their area combined with a wealth of knowledge from THEIR kupuna who have had close daily interaction with sharks throughout the pacific over many thousands of millennia going back to a time before recorded history when our polynesian kupuna lived in mu and lemuria.

        go figure, the “state” of Hawai’i is misappropriating taxpayer money to fund studies by unqualified “shark experts” in order to get the kinds of study results they want when, if they really wanted the truth, they’d only have to ask the local kupuna who would gladly share their knowledge about our mano aumakua for free.

        • steveo77

          the ocean is being destroyed and the sharks are angry and hungry. Fukushima is a big one. and just look at the algae, was never there 25 years ago, Makena I speak of. It is not just haole (thanks for saying caucasian).

        • Haole Boy

          Auwe! I could spend all day rebutting your absurd
          and racist comments, and pointing out that skin color does not matter when it
          comes to seeking ‘Ike to increase our
          Na’auao, but let us simply focus on your contention that sharks never attack
          Hawaiians – which is clearly wrong;
          Date and time: Aug 18; 1:30 PM
          Location: Hawaii, Puna, Pohoiki, approx 50 yards from shore
          Activity: Surfing
          Water clarity: Clear
          Water depth: est 20 ft
          Victim: J. Napeahi
          Lacerations to upper thighs. Tiger shark, length estimated at 8-10 ft.

          Date and time: March 25; 12:00 noon
          Location: Kaua‘i, Brennecke’s Beach; 30-50 yds from shore
          Activity: Body boarding
          Water clarity: Turbid
          Water depth: 6-8 ft
          Victim: H. Aki
          Severely bitten on lower left leg; left foot lost above ankle.

          Nu’u-anu-pa’ahu1779Unconfirmed, presumed tiger sharkThe victim was a young male who suffered a gash to one side of his buttocks following a shark attack at Maliu, Hawaii. The victim later died of his injuries at Pololū Valley.[72]Hawaiian boyAugust 2, 1902Tiger sharkKilled while catching crabs at Kalihi, Oahu, Hawaii. Both arms were severed.[71]

          • jonnie austen

            my comments were not racially-charged and have nothing to do with “skin color”. when i speak of hawaiians i’m not using the term “hawaiian” to describe an ethnicity because the term “hawaiian” is a description of nationality. “hawaiian” denotes a natural born or naturalized citizen of the kingdom and nation of Hawai’i just as “american” describes a citizen of american.

            a description of ethnicity would be either polynesian, caucasian, asian, hispanic or black. also our traditional, polynesian-hawaiian, socio-cultural classes would include ali’i, the ruling class, kahuna, the priestly class, koa, the warrior class and maka’ainana, the commoner class.

            also, i didn’t say that mano “never” attack hawaiians, i said our mano “NEVER intentionally hurt or kill hawaiians”. i realize now that i should have placed the emphasis on “intentionally” rather than on “never” since this clearly confused you.

            also, when i prefaced this quoted phrase with “no hawaiian EVER intentionally hurts or kills sharks” i was referring to “hawaiian”, more in the cultural rather than in the socio-political sense, meaning someone who practices traditional hawaiian culture.

            a hawaiian practitioner of our traditional culture would typically be well-enough versed in shark behavior to know not to surf in murky water, near a river mouth especially after a heavy rain. a practitioner of traditional hawaiian culture would understand that large sharks are drawn to river mouths after a heavy rain because the water that washes down from the mountains brings with it the scent of death and decay from the uplands, as well as the occasional animal carcass, and the murky conditions of the runoff are conducive to accidental shark bitings as the mano investigate, with their mouths, any sudden movement or splashing in the murky waters such as the sounds and movements a human surfer, swimmer or fisherman might make.

            ulu boy’s case is a perfect example of what i just described. ulu boy is a young polynesian-hawaiian with some traditional cultural knowledge who probably lacked the cultural awareness that would have told him not to surf in murky water near a river mouth especially after a heavy rain.

            the premise of my original argument is that polynesian-hawaiians who have good knowledge of and practice their traditional culture are less likely to be attacked by mano than caucasian-haole (in this case i’m using the term “haole” not in its derogatory form but rather to denote a non-hawaiian foreigner) who are ignorant of our cultural traditions and experiential knowledge of shark behavior and choose not to heed our warnings about not swimming in certain areas at certain times because they consider them “silly superstitions” rather than what they actually are which is a practical knowledge of shark behavior based upon thousands of years of close, daily interaction with our mano handed down by our kupuna over countless generations.

    • Mukluk

      “I’m an hawaiian ali’i”…….what a joke. The great king would have smashed your head with a rock just so he wouldn’t have to listen to your drivel. How’s the royal T-shirt printing business?

      • jonnie austen

        kamehameha was my great great uncle and his wife ka’ahumanu was my great great aunt. i’m also related to kaumuali’i, the ali’i nui of kaua’i. you really shouldn’t comment but things of which you are clearly ignorant.

        its easy to be a “troll” on the internet, hiding behind a pseudonym. a real man uses his real name when commenting. they don’t throw insults while hiding behind a pseudonym like a little girl.

        i have the genealogy to prove my ancestry going back thousands of years to the first polynesians to settle Hawai’i from tahiti and the surrounding islands. what about you do you even know your own ancestry past your grandparents?

        right, i didn’t think so!

      • jonnie austen

        pono streetwear has never represented itself as a “royal” t shirt business. its a hawaiian streetwear brand that blends hawaiian cultural and political consciousness with contemporary urban street style. two areas in which i am very well-versed and experienced.

        the company is doing very well, thank you. i’ve just produced the fall 2014 sample collection to show to retail buyers and i’m now in the process of producing the 2014 fall sample collection for its companion brand Ka’imi HI, a north shore surf brand that represents the hawaiian roots of the sport of surfing.

        also, i’ve never claimed to be royal, just ali’i. although i have royal ancestors, the entire kamehameha dynasty, i’m not personally in the royal line of succession although as an ali’i with familial ties to the kamehamehas i could certainly be considered as a potential monarchial candidate by the ali’i tribunal that will select Hawai’i’s next monarch.

        the difference between “royal” and “ali’i” is basically that “royal” represents the lineage of crowned monarchs and their line of succession whereas “ali’i” is the ruling class throughout polynesian culture from which the chiefs and royal monarchs come. but i wouldn’t expect you to understand the difference between the two since you’re obviously severely “mentally-challenged”.

      • ponokeali’i

        actually i own and design multiple surf, skate and streetwear brands and they’re not “royal” they’re just businesses that mainly represent kanaka maoli culture. but thanks for asking.

        your comment indicates a lot of ignorance about what being ali’i involves. ali’i is a social class in polynesian society dating back to our origins in Mu many thousands of years ago. we are born into the ali’i class and spend our entire lives learning to lead our people with benevolence, humility and aloha.

        one cannot choose to be ali’i, one is born ali’i. and not every ali’i becomes a chief or a monarch those roles choose you not the other way around. some ali’i can become koa ali’i or kahuna ali’i if those roles choose them. but whatever role in kanaka maoli society chooses us we serve the maka’ainana selflessly and with abundant benevolence, compassion and aloha.

        also paie’a kamehameha I is my great great great grand uncle so its highly unlikely that he would “smash my face in with a rock” unless we faced each other on opposing sides in battle in which case he would be perfectly justified to do so.

        may i suggest that you may want to learn about a topic before commenting on it? otherwise it just makes you seem silly and ignorant.


    • ichorousmedia .

      Not that I don’t think the hawaiians have a great understanding of sharks from having been around them much longer, but (1) science helps modern researchers zing lightyears past the kind of ‘spiritual’ and superstitious claims that you are making (2) to say that a shark warned you about anything, except literally in it’s own domain by biting you, I think you have taken a few too many tabs… and I’m betting almost all of these attacks have occurred somewhere other than these sacred areas.

      • jonnie austen

        the difference between western “scientific” research and the practical knowledge about sharks that the polynesians possess is that the western “scientists” “research” usually consists of catching, tagging and releasing a random sampling of sharks, tracking their movements and then trying to form hypotheses to explain their behavior. there’s rarely any direct observation for extended periods of time besides watching sharks swimming around in a tank which is obviously nothing like their natural environment. ALL of western scientific shark research has taken place in only the past century.

        the polynesians, on the other hand, base their knowledge of sharks on thousands and thousands of years of close, daily interactions with sharks. so our knowledge of sharks is based on real, practical experience rather than the “‘spiritual’ and superstitious claims” you mentioned. “‘spiritual’ and supertitious” more accurately describes western scientific research. weren’t they the ones who claimed, based on their “scientific” observations that; “the earth was flat”, “the sun, planets and stars revolved around the earth” and “the moon was made of cheese” lmfao 😀

        also the “warnings” that i mentioned were not sharks talking to us but sharks telling us, by their behavior, not to swim in certain areas unlike the western tourists who continue to swim in areas that they are warned by the hawaiians not to swim in, get bitten, sometimes fatally, yet continue to swim there. and, yes, shark bites and fatalities ARE concentrated in certain areas of our islands with only random mistaken bitings taking place on other parts of the islands whenever people swim in murky water or in an area where a dead animal is or where the shark’s favorite food, sea turtles, gather. if you don’t believe me then do the research.

        your own knowledge of shark behavior is obviously nil and your grasp of the value of close, daily, practical experience over thousands of year over scientific hypotheses based on insufficient observational data collected over a mere handful of decades is clearly nonexistent. you should really stop smoking crack!

        • ichorousmedia .

          I never claimed to be a shark expert, and you took me far too literally, but I’m not surprised… at least I’m not biast on the subject

          • jonnie austen

            haha, my comment in the last paragraph was merely a sarcastic comeback to your offhand comment about my “taking too many tabs” in an attempt, perhaps, to dismiss my premise.

            but in all seriousness, the main point that i was trying to make is that thousands of years of close, daily, experiential interaction with sharks and other marine life by my polynesian ancestors carries far more weight and validity than a century or so of arms-length, intermittent, short-term “studies” by western scientists who are studying the subject sharks objectively rather than developing a subjective, symbiotic relationship with our mano as the polynesians have and including all these creatures and ourselves in a holistic, natural, “circle of life” world as opposed to the predominate western view of man existing apart from the natural world with a “god-given” dominion over the world and everything that exists within it and the “divine right” to plunder nature and its resources for the “wealth” they can provide without any sense of the negative effects of their actions or a sense of responsibility for the havoc the wreak upon nature.

          • Heisenberg

            The obvious problem with your alleged rejection of western science is that it is part of the fabric of your daily life! I suspect you ride in a car or use the bus from time to time, fly in planes, use electricity, make cell phone calls etc. These are the fruits of modern science, as are defibrillators and the internet. King Kamehameha astutely recognized the superiority of western technology over Hawaiian traditional arms and hence adopted the use of musket and cannon to give him the winning edge over other Hawaiians!! As for ‘wreaking havoc upon nature’, a variety of flightless birds and other creatures were wiped out by the first people to colonize the Hawaiian Islands. Your posts make you sound like you have a huge chip on your shoulder rather than providing any convincing argument that Hawaiian knowledge trumps western science.

          • jonnie austen

            dude ur being such a troll on this topic AND ur also widely generalizing in an attempt to discredit my opinion on the subject.

            i never said that i reject western science. the point that i’m making is that, on the particular subject of knowledge about shark behavior, the polynesians have thousands of years of daily, close interaction with sharks upon which to base their knowledge whereas westerners have maybe one century of observation from ships using tracking tags and scuba diving observations which only observe sharks for very short periods of time upon which to base their knowledge.

            surely you can seen that broad, experiential observation of shark behavior by polynesians across the whole of the pacific ocean over many millennia MUST NECESSARILY yield a much higher volume of data upon which to base knowledge of the subject than a mere century of narrow (focused on very small test areas), distant (use of tracking tags and scuba diver observation), intermittent (the length of any scientific study is limited to a prescribed period of time, usually about a year, and by the limits of the study’s research funding) observation.

            any scientist will tell you that more research data will yield better, more conclusive results. THAT is the point that i’m making. not who did the research but rather how the data was gathered and how much data was the resulting knowledge based upon.

            i happen to be a big fan of science. i have been since i was a kid. and i agree that science has given us many good things. but it has also given us many bad things like the atomic bomb or GMOs to name just two (there are many, many more).

            scientific research has also gotten it wrong way more than it has gotten it right. we tend to only hear about the “giant breakthroughs”, and “exciting new discoveries” that science has given us but we don’t hear about the many, many more failed experiments or incorrect assumptions and hypotheses that science routinely makes.

            remember the best science of the time yielded ideas like the flat earth theory, the theory that the universe revolved around the earth or that the earth was created in six days by an invisible being who lived in the sky. we can laugh at these ideas now as being silly and naive but at the time they were seen and believed as scientific fact.

            so to get back to the original topic of this thread, ulu boy being bitten by a shark, i feel, imho, that we don’t need to rely on the theories of a few western scientists to tell us why this happened. we only need to ask any polynesian who is in touch with his culture to know that you shouldn’t go surfing in murky water near a river mouth after a heavy rain because it vastly increases the likelihood that you will be mistakenly bitten by a shark just as ulu-boy was. western scientists and polynesians both agree on this fact. its just that polynesians have known this for many thousands of years more, waaaaay before westerners even knew there was a pacific ocean. and they’ll tell you this for free if you simply ask them. there’s no need for a government-funded research study because we already these facts.

            now that’s a FACT that you CANNOT argue with no matter how much of an internet troll you are! lol 😛

          • High School Science Teacher

            There are multiple flaws in your argument. First – the ancient Greeks already concluded
            that the Earth was spherical in the 6th Century BC, and this was proven
            by Ferdinand Magellan’s circumnavigation of the Earth in1519-1522. Second – the heliocentric solar system was
            first proposed by an ancient Greek philosopher (Aristarchus of Samos), it was
            predicted mathematically by Nicolaus Copernicus in the 1600s and confirmed by empirical
            observation by Galileo in the late 16th century. Note that Galileo’s observations were
            empirical measurements made with a scientific tool (the telescope) – and were
            controversial because they contradicted religious dogma. Third – sharks occur
            in all the world’s oceans, so people outside Hawaii and the Pacific also have
            long-term relationships with sharks stretching back millennia. Forth – despite the ancient relationship
            between the ocean and humans around the world, most of our understanding of the
            marine environment has come in the last 300 years, and especially in the 20th
            and 21st centuries because of scientific advances. Finally – both traditional knowledge and
            modern science have something to offer, but there are many things we can learn
            today that simply couldn’t be known before by any human, regardless of race, because
            the tools to discover these things simply had not been invented.

      • Kanaha local

        You are right. People have been bitten in a lot of different places around the Maui coast, often far from streams, where the water is clear and not in any ‘kapu’ area. It is completely obvious to pretty much everyone other than this guy Jonnie Austen that modern science trumps superstitious claims. The notion that you can somehow communicate spiritually with sharks to avoid being bitten is completely ridiculous. Surfers on Maui want facts not fantasies!

  • jonnie austen

    ulu boy you are a true hawaiian. you know enough about our culture and our aumakua not to blame the mano who bit you. the mano could have very easily taken you if that was his intention. the bite was most likely a warning that you were in an area that is sacred to the mano.

    ulu boy, talk to the kupuna in the area. ask them if “dead trees” is sacred to the mano at certain times of the year. i grew up surfing on o’ahu and maui knowing that mano were ALWAYS nearby. whether or not i saw them swimming i always knew that they were near and it always made me feel very protected.

    every time i enter the ocean i pule to ask permission to surf, swim, dive, paddle or fish before i venture out and i thank the mano for watching over me while i was in their domain.

    our mano aumakua are a very important part of our culture and our traditions. learn as much about them as you possibly can from your kupuna. with knowledge will come understanding and you will be able to build an even stronger bond with our mano aumakua. a bond that will benefit you for your entire life of surfing and enjoying everything you do in the ocean while under the watchful protection of our beloved mano aumakua.

    jonnie austen
    pono ali’i

  • Nick

    if your afraid to get attacked my a shark check this out

  • cleanSooke

    Just a thought. Could the decimation of the insular False Killer whale population over the past 20 yrs led to more sharks? There are less than 200 False killer whales in the whole chain, when 20 yrs ago it was 3-5X that.

    Sharks have had many opportunities over the years to eat me in Hawaii, from spearfishing (Oahu, Kauai, Niihau, Kaula), surfing, and underwater work. Maybe it’s my aumakua, maybe since I don’t (never have) eat shark, they don’t eat me, or I’ve just been very lucky. Either way, the ocean has already given me more than my life is worth. Mahalo nui lehua kai

  • ichorousmedia .

    it’s definitely worth the risk