State says surfer was not bitten by shark, injury caused by surfboard


The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources says it appears a shark did not injure a surfer at Oneula Beach on Saturday.

The state says it interviewed the surfer on Tuesday and the man said he was not bitten by shark, but believed he was injured by a surfboard skeg.

A 48-year-old man was taken to the Queen’s Medical Center at 7:45 a.m. Saturday.

At the time, City officials could not confirm that it was a shark bite. Shark cited signs are posted in the area known as Haubush as a precaution.

The victim is John ‘Raps’ Denges of Ewa Beach. He was identified by his cousin Ty Ahsing.

Rebecca Taylor spoke to the friend who was with Denges at the time of the incident. She said Denges borrowed his friend’s surfboard and was catching some waves at Haubush when it happened.

Surfers several yards away said they heard a guy yelling but couldn’t tell what he was yelling about.

Taylor said Denges friend came to shore before him.

“(Denges’ friend) seen the blood behind him and then he ran down to see what was going on and that’s when he seen the big cut on (John’s) leg,” Taylor said. “When he looked at the back of the leg you could see the bone and that the meat was hanging so it was a bad bite.”

The injury was on Denges lower left leg.  At the time, officials couldn’t confirm that he was bitten by a shark.

“John said it was a shark and I asked (his friend) Papa Nom if it was a big shark and he said it was a medium size one,” Taylor said.

Denges’ friend helped him wrap his wound with a t-shirt and called an ambulance. Paramedics took him to the hospital in serious condition.

Taylor said sharks are known to frequent the area and that’s why she doesn’t go in the water there.

The 12th annual HIC/Quicksilver All-Military Surf Classic was in full swing less than a mile away at White Plains beach.

Lifeguards spotted a shark there at 1:30 p.m. The event was canceled and officials said they cleared the beach.

Steven Marksberry, the MWR community recreation director for White Plains, said the beach is shut down to ensure the safety of the public.

Warning signs will remain posted at Haubush and White Plains for a minimum of 24 hours.  The signs have since been removed.

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