As RadarOnline.com has learned, Max Keliikipi was about 100 yards from the shore this Sunday, August 11, when he saw a fin sticking out of the water. Though he initially believed it to be a turtle, he soon came to realize it was actually a 7-10 foot shark.
Keliikipi, 16, quickly jumped onto his surf board, but the shark pushed him into the water and took a bite out of the board’s nose, barely missing his feet.
“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,” the teen told KHON2 News. “And then, boom! Comes up from underneath and bites my board. It was literally an inch or two away from my feet.”
After the shark attack, Keliikipi left his board and quickly swam to shore.
“It was fight or flight. I chose flight,” he said, adding that the shark’s bite on his surf board is “bigger than my head.”
“As soon as I hit the water, I just started swimming and I didn’t really think about where the shark was,” he continued. “I just had to get in.”
Though Keliikipi surfs in Hawaii nearly every summer, this is the first time he’s encountered a shark. Speaking to CNN, he said the attack was not entirely unexpected, as he knows 10 to 20 surfers who have been attacked by sharks.
“It’s not common, but it’s not uncommon either,” he said.
He added that it was his calmness what likely saved him from the predator.
“Panicking is what kills people,” he told CNN.
Though nearly fatal, the attack will not stop Keliikipi from surfing.
“I don’t want to go inside,” he told the outlet. “That’s how the sharks win.”
He, will, however, be much more careful in the future.
“Next time, I’m just gonna go in the daytime and with my friends,” he told KHON2 News. “I’m not surfing there alone anymore.”