Close call with shark won't keep Kauai surfer out of the water
By Paul C. Curtis
The Garden Island
LIHUE — Jim Rawlinson, a 68-year-old carpenter from Anahola, was back in the Hanalei Bay waves yesterday, and expecting to rip again today, even after a shark took a bite out of his board there Monday afternoon.
In fact, he continued to surf for at least an hour after the attack, which had him ending up on the back of the shark that bit his board, he said yesterday morning.
When the shark hit his board, the board went up in the air and Rawlinson went into the water where he ended up smack on the back of the tiger shark, he said.
While on the shark's back, he decided it would probably be a good idea to detach himself from the board, which was still in the shark's mouth, he said.
"It was relatively calm at that point," he said.
So, he took off his board leash from his ankle and put some distance between himself and the shark, estimated to be around 14 feet long.
Rawlinson then swam from the point surf break to a reef area nearer to shore, recalling that deep-water sharks don't routinely patrol shallower waters.
He turned around, saw his board floating in the water, swam to retrieve it and never saw the shark again, he said.
Rather than counting his blessings and making a beeline to shore, he stayed out in the water for around another hour, buoyed by other surfers around him, he said.
Rawlinson, who has been surfing for 50 years, said the incident won't keep him out of the water.
"I don't want fear to hold me back from doing what I'm doing," said Rawlinson, adding that he will continue surfing "as long as I live and can."
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