Maui beach closed following shark attack, the first place to look for a dive instructor

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Posted by on May 03, 2005 at 08:20:55:

A surfer on Maui had a close call with a shark Monday. Luckily the only damage was to the man's surfboard.

The attack happened at Tavares Bay, in the surf area known as Noriega's.

Ocean safety officials say this is the first time there's ever been a shark attack in that area.

They say the conditions were perfect for surfing today on Maui's north shore, with 2-3 foot waves and no wind.

Surfer Scott Hoyt hit the waves around eight Monday morning.

He's visiting from Reno, but used to live on Maui.

Tavares Bay is one of his favorite surfing spots.

Around 10:30, he was about 300 feet off shore, when he suddenly feared for his life.

"I was paddling out for a wave and a shark came from below and grabbed the back of the board and knocked me right off the board," said surfer Scott Hoyt.

You can see teeth marks where the shark bit his board.

Ocean safety officials don't know what kind of shark it was, but estimate it was about ten feet long.

Hoyt says fortunately he was able to catch a wave to shore before the shark had another chance to attack.

"I'm feeling happy that nothing happened," said Hoyt.

In recent years, there've been a couple other shark attacks in the waters off Maui.

On April 7, 2004, a 57-year-old surfer died after a shark bit his thigh near Kahana.

On November 17, 2002, a 34-year-old tourist was attacked while swimming near Kaanapali.

A shark bit her shoulder, but luckily she survived.

Monday, ocean safety officials lined Tavares Bay with warning signs following the attack.

Hoyt has been surfing for 14 years.

This was his first, and he says hopefully last close encounter with a shark.

Luckily there were only a handful of other surfers out there.

Ocean safety officials have closed Tavares bay until at least Tuesday morning.

That's when they'll decide if it's safe to reopen.

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