A 16-year-old Hawaiian surfer was quite fortunate to escape in one piece after a shark came dangerously close to making off with one of his limbs while he was out surfing at Honolulu Beach this past weekend, according to KHON2 News.
Max Keliikipi has spent most of his summer surfing but had never come across a shark before Sunday. While waiting for a final wave around 100 yards away from the shore, the teen saw something emerge from the water.
He thought it was a turtle at first but would soon find out that his new companion was actually a ravenous shark. After realizing as much and coming to grips with the fact that there was nowhere to go, he pulled himself up to the board and made sure all of his limbs were away from the water.
The big fish was hardly discouraged and came straight at Max, knocking him into the water before taking a huge bite out of the board.
“It goes underneath the water and I put my feet on top of my board and I’m just sitting there, looking around for it,” he recalled. “And then, boom! Comes up from underneath bites my board. It was literally an inch or two away from my feet.
“It’s, like, bigger than my head, I didn’t even realize how big this shark bite was until now.”
Fortunately, Max is a junior lifeguard and is presumably quite adept at swimming. He told the news outlet he started swimming towards the shore as soon as he got into the water.
“As soon as I hit the water, I just started swimming and I didn’t really think about where the shark was,” he said. “I just had to get in.”
He didn’t get a good look at the shark but reckons it was about 7-10ft in length and has since been told that it was likely a tiger shark.
While this was the teen’s first encounter with an aquatic predator, he claimed to know several surfers who have been attacked by sharks. He credits his calmness for his being able to reach safety before the deadly animal could get a hold of him. But it was probably preoccupied with all of the polystyrene and fiberglass in its jaws by then.
Despite his close call, Max is in no way inclined to stay away from the water but says he will be more mindful in future.
“Next time, I’m just gonna go in the daytime and with my friends,” he says. “I’m not surfing there alone anymore.”