Sixty-five-year-old Kimberly Bishop was hospitalized after she was bitten by a shark Tuesday.
It happened about 8:30 a.m. in Anaehoomalu Bay, or A-Bay, near Waikoloa on Hawaii island.
Fire crews quickly responded and closed area beaches as a precaution.
Kimberly Bishop and her husband Kim said they live in California but also own a home in Waikoloa.
Bishop explained that they take their kayak and stand-up paddle board out often. Tuesday morning started out like any other day.
“The water was really clear so I could see in front of me. There was nothing in front of me. We could see all the way down,” Bishop explained.
That’s when she said something bumped her kayak.
“Something came from behind knocked over the kayak and bit my leg,” Bishop said.
She knew she had been bitten by a shark and yelled to her husband who was about 100 feet away.
“The first thing that I knew I heard her yell shark, shark and I turned and she was in the water…I saw the fins in the water and I immediately paddled as fast as i could to get over to her,” he explained.
Bishop was able to get back into her kayak and they called out to some canoe paddlers who were in the area for help.
Department of Land and Natural Resources officials said that Bishop may have been attacked by a 5-foot-long black tip reef shark, but Bishop’s husband disagrees.
“It wasn’t a six foot shark, it was bigger than that for sure…I have to believe it was a tiger shark based on what I’ve seen of pictures” he said.
Shark expert Michael Domier said there are two things that make him think Bishop was probably attacked by a tiger shark.
The first is the size of Bishop’s wound.
Officials reported it was 12 inches long.
“That’s a big bite. (Black tip reef sharks) only get about five feet long, so it sounds a lot more like a tiger shark to be quite honest with you…black tip reef sharks they eat fish. They are not interested in people. They are not really interested in floating items. Tiger sharks they are much more scavengers. They’ll eat just about anything and they will investigate floating objects.”
Attacks by black tip reef sharks are extremely rare.
DLNR said they are continuing the investigation to determine exactly what type of shark bit Bishop.
Bishop said though it was a frightening experience, it hasn’t changed her love of the ocean.
“Sharks live in the water. It’s their home and we understand that. I will go kayaking again.”
Bishop and her husband said they are very grateful to the Outrigger canoe paddlers who helped get her to shore.
She added that once her leg heals the scar will make for a great story.
Hawaii County Civil Defense said beaches in the area are closed until further notice and they have posted shark warning signs that will remain until Wednesday. The Hawaii Fire Department did a flyover to look for the shark.