Shark attack halts World Surf League contest


KAPALUA, Hawaii (KHON) — The Maui Pro sponsored by Roxy is on hold until further notice after a recreational surfer was attacked by a shark Tuesday morning. According to Maui Memorial Medical Center, the victim is in stable condition.

The attack happened before 8 a.m. as the water safety crew prepared for the day and other surfers were enjoying the waves before the event.

The Department of Land Natural Resources said a 56-year-old Lahaina man was bitten while paddling out from the old boat ramp in the bay.

Da Kine Surf Marketing Director and Maui native, Micah Nickens, was at Honolua Bay when it happened.

“It was really somber and really sad. It was a very eerie feeling to be a part of.”

Nickens said he saw ocean safety pull the man from the water and administer CPR.

“It was heavy. It was incredible, I mean, people are crying. We all did. One of the little girls was out in the water. She’s like eight. I don’t know if she’ll ever recover from it. To be honest, it really scared her,” he said.

Nickens surfed at Honolua Bay his whole life and said he’s seen sharks there before.

“Occasionally, I’ve seen small six to eight footers [sharks] just kind of cruising along the shoreline, just hunting or cruising,” Nickens said.

He said Tuesday’s conditions were prime for an attack.

“It was earlier in the morning. Clarity was really bad and it was right near the river mouth,” he explained.

Nickens said he thought the WSL did the right thing, putting the contest on hold until further notice for everyone’s safety. He explained that in the past when shark attacks happened during events, WSL changed the event location.

WSL has not confirmed a change of venue for the Maui Pro yet.

Maui Memorial Medical Center announced that the victim of the shark attack was out of surgery and in stable condition as of 3 p.m. on Dec. 8.

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