NAWILIWILI — Montana visitor Scott Hill was returning from snorkeling in Kalapaki Bay on Tuesday afternoon when he felt a strong tug on his fin.
He assumed it had just caught on a rock or a piece of coral, yanked it free, and continued making his way back to shore.
“When I got in, I reached down to take my flipper off and noticed that a quarter of it was gone, in the shape of what you would expect a shark bite to look like,” said Hill.
Though a shark attack was not confirmed, Hill and his family thought it was the most likely explanation.
“If it was just stuck on a rock it probably would have pulled my foot out of the flipper before it tore,” said Hill.
The incident occurred in somewhat murky water about 80 yards out from shore.
Hill reported the possible bite to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources, which gave him a free shark poster.
The DAR could not confirm what caused the damage on Wednesday, and said they had not received any other recent reports of shark sightings in the area. They are currently testing the flipper to determine whether the event was actually a shark bite.
Shark attacks are extremely rare events, with the DLNR reporting three to four incidents occur per year on average.
Earlier this year, a Waimea teen accidentally reeled in a massive tiger shark while fishing on the shore in Kekaha, which he later released.
In February 2021, a shark bit down on the tip of a Kaua‘i man’s short board while he was surfing Waiokapua Bay. In June 2016, a surfer suffered minor injuries from a 3-foot shark in Kalapaki Bay.
“I feel pretty lucky,” said Hill of the incident on Tuesday. “It was about 3 inches from the toe.”
Guthrie Scrimgeour, reporter, can be reached at 808-647-0329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island