HONOLULU, Hawaii - A 16-year-old surfer had a frightening run-in with a shark off Makaha Beach, in Honolulu on Sunday evening.
"It's like bigger than my head," Max Keliikipi told KHON, while showing his surfboard with a big piece missing. "It's high. It's actually pretty big. I didn't even recognize how big the shark mark was until like right now."
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It was around sundown Sunday when Keliikipi says he was waiting for one last wave. He was about a hundred yards offshore when he spotted what he thought was a turtle fin in the water. He didn't realize it was a shark until it was right next to him.
"It goes underneath the water, I put my feet on top of my board. I'm just sitting there, looking around for it," said Keliikipi. "And then boom, it comes underneath me, bites my board. It comes underneath me, bites my board... It was literally, and I'm not exaggerating this at all, literally an inch or two in front of my feet."
The force threw Keliikipi into the water. He's a junior lifeguard, so his instincts immediately kicked in.
"There is that fear factor. It was the fight or flight thing and for me it was just flight," said Keliikipi. "As soon as I hit the water, I just started swimming and I didn't really think about where the shark was. I just had to get in."
He was able to make it to shore safely.
This comes just three months after a man was killed after a shark attack on Maui.
According to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, there have been seven shark attacks just this year, up from three last year and five in 2017. Four of those attacks occurred on Oahu.
As for Keliikipi, he said he's learned his lesson. "Next time I'm just going to go in the daytime and with my friends, not surfing alone anymore."
Signs were posted at Makaha Beach Monday warning people of the shark.