Updated, December 10th: Tragically, the victim passed away from his injuries.
On December 8, the Maui Pro at Honolua Bay was called off after a shark attacked a recreational surfer in the early morning hours, before the event started for the day. WSL decided to call the event for the day. When the news first broke, there wasn’t too much information, but we’ve learned that the victim was a 56-year-old man from Lahaina.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources said the man was paddling out from the old boat ramp in Honolua Bay at about 7:45 a.m. when the shark bit him. According to KITV, the man’s life was saved thanks to the help of a number of people. World Surf League crews, who were in the water preparing for the Maui Pro, bystanders, lifeguards, police, firemen, and ER doctors and staff can all be credited with keeping the man alive after the shark bit the back of his leg. He was admitted to the hospital in critical condition, where he underwent surgery. At 1:03 p.m., Maui Health reported that he was in stable condition. The man’s board was recovered, and the bite mark measured nearly 17-inches long.
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“As far as this type of call, timing is everything it’s very important,” Maile Calasa, a paramedic with the American Medical Response, told KITV. “You can bleed out very quickly from an injury like this. So it just so happened that my partner and I were watching the surf because we already got canceled from a call that was already at the bay, and we got approached and told from the Jet Skis that a person got bitten so we got down there in a reasonable amount of time. Then, two bystanders in a truck picked us up and took us in to him… and that was huge as far as timing went. It really came down to the whole team of people that helped him, honestly. From the people at the Roxy Pro, to the watermen, the lifeguards, firemen, police, the ER doctor that had blood as soon as we got in the ER at bedside, the surgeon was there… all the nurses, it honestly was a really great team effort. And everyone worked together really, really well.”
For now, the Maui Pro is on indefinite hold until further notice. Shark warning signs have been posted on both sides of Honolua Bay, from DT Fleming Beach Park to Windmills. Our thoughts are with the victim, his family, and anyone affected by his attack.