Kiholo State Park Reserve remains closed today after a 43-year-old man was bit by a shark Wednesday evening while surfing at Kiholo Bay.
The man was bitten on his right forearm by a tiger shark around 5:10 p.m., according to the Hawaii Fire Department. An on-duty battalion chief said the victim described the tiger shark as “big” and a “monster.” The man was transported to North Hawaii Community Hospital in stable condition.
Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Aquatic Resources Education Specialist and member of the state Shark Task Force John Kahiapo said the shark involved is believed to be a tiger and at least 15 feet in length.
Kahiapo said the department has closed the beach until at least noon. At that time, he said, a Hawaii County helicopter will conduct an aerial assessment and determine whether the area is safe to reopen.
Shark attacks are relatively rare in West Hawaii. In 2011, there were two reports of sharks biting boards, but not injuring the riders, near Lyman’s surf spot in Kailua-Kona.
Prior to that, an attack occurred in October 1999 when a 16-year-old boy had his arm bitten by a 6- to 8-foot shark while he was surfing shortly before sunset off Old Kona Airport Park, according to West Hawaii Today archives. An unconfirmed attack was also reported April 1987 in Kailua Bay and a confirmed attack occurred in 1963 off South Kona, according to the archives.