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Shark Encounters

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junebug
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Re: Shark Encounters

Postby junebug » Wed Jul 21, 2021 2:26 pm

To the OP -- I'm glad you are okay. That sounds terrifying. Thanks for posting.

I live about 3 hours south, in Charleston, South Carolina. I kitefoil 90% of the time now, and have for the past 5 years or so. I never had a shark encounter in the 10 years I rode a twin tip exclusively, other than seeing small sand sharks in shallow water sandbars around inlets and the occasional spinner shark jumping out of the water.

Once I started kitefoiling, though, and especially once I got a faster foil, I started hitting sharks all the time, like every third session or so. Our water is murky, and at first I assumed it was just random fish or trash in the water, which it may be sometimes, but on clear days I could see the sharks right before I hit them. They are usually 4-6 foot sharks. I'm not sure of the species, but our waters have lots of blacktips, spinners, and bulls, among others.

In one clear-day session I hit 3 sharks in about an hour. I was able to see them just below the surface but too late to avoid them. Obviously, when I hit them, I would go flying off the foil, and those few seconds collecting myself and trying to locate the board for a quick waterstart were pretty nerve-racking, but, so far, no bites. Touch wood.

I ride a different foil now, a slower one, and it hardly happens at all any more. My best guesses are that (1) they couldn't get out of the way of the faster foil in time to avoid it and/or (2) there was something about the harmonics of of my faster foil that attracted them.

Around here, there's a sure-fire way to tell if a shark is nearby:

Step 1 -- dip your finger in the water
Step 2 -- lick your finger. If it's salty, there are sharks nearby.
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Re: Shark Encounters

Postby Cyrus » Wed Jul 21, 2021 5:12 pm

StellaBlu wrote:
Mon Jul 19, 2021 9:25 pm
That's terrifying. Any theory as to whether the shark was actively attacking the foil, or if you happened to run into it?

Glad to hear you are on the road to recovery.
Actually the shark once shark expert (Pierre Delispinois - Discovery Channel Shark Photog) --- said in the that kind of water -- open ocean very rough water that shark hit me not I hit the shark (I originally thought that too) Pierre did say that shark probably though the foil was a ray or the pitch may have attracted it. Dunno

Best,

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Re: Shark Encounters

Postby Cyrus » Wed Jul 21, 2021 5:15 pm

Face_NickJr wrote:
Tue Jul 20, 2021 12:46 am
Thanks for sharing. But I'll think of this post literally every time I'm on the water now. Just ordered a sharkbanz...anyone think they work? Seems like they could just as easily attract them in out of curiosity.
Funny -- I actually have been poking fun at a friend who uses the sharkbanz for a long time .......... perhaps I am now in the market for a pair .............

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Re: Shark Encounters

Postby Cyrus » Wed Jul 21, 2021 5:18 pm

Hugh2 wrote:
Tue Jul 20, 2021 3:12 am
Wow, that's quite a story. I'm sure everyone thinks about sharks whenever they need to body drag for their board in the ocean, I know I did this weekend in Cape Hatteras, and always do in Cape Town, yet shark attacks on body dragging kiters are unheard of to my knowledge. Having the foil in the water might indeed change the equation from the sharks perspective. Metal or carbon foil? And how do you know it was a bull shark? From the bite and tooth impressions?
Carbon Foil. I had a long conversation with a shark expert who analyzed the bite mark and asked me questions --- quite sure it was a Bull Shark at this point.

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Re: Shark Encounters

Postby thekitemonster » Wed Jul 21, 2021 5:20 pm

I had to punch upwind to get past the nose of a juvenile GW at Sunset (HB CA). It was clear water. It was basking in the sun (thought it was a submerged log) maybe lurking for movement in the sand below as they eat stingrays. It didn't sense my Moses 550 coming and as I passed inches from its nose it did an amazing 180 and I had a perfect view, pivoting off its right pectoral fin and fishy tailing away super fast. On the next tack it had its dorsal fin exposed a few inches out and was doing the same slow motionless idle pointing into the wind.

It's only a matter of time before some-ones foil rig spears a bigger basking Whitey. I think a big send followed by several consecutive huge sends until safely beached beached would by my course of action. It can savor my boring foil rig for a toothpick, I'm outa there. Well powered you'd likely get away. A slow underpowered trolling speed grovel in would really suck.

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Re: Shark Encounters

Postby Cyrus » Wed Jul 21, 2021 5:20 pm

JakeFarley wrote:
Tue Jul 20, 2021 3:33 am
Hope you recover quickly and get back foiling soon. Bull sharks are notoriously aggressive, just after great white and tiger sharks. My shark bite is nothing compared to yours (got bit on the knee by a small blacktip, no stitches). When I tell my story, I say "after three days of pain and suffering, the shark died". 😁
THANKS ---- "Foiling"

--- not only do I love foiling (kite, wing, wave) but I love using the word as a universal term like Mahalo or Shalom

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Re: Shark Encounters

Postby RickI » Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:32 pm

We share some of the same sharks, certainly the blacktips which mate down here in the first quarter of the year off Miami-Dade & Broward Counties and then come up your way off the Carolinas to give birth. They are numerous and smaller as you described, then there is all the mindless jumping and spinning to panic fish schools. If you see jumping fish, sharks, it would be best to not wing/kite there. I have tried to follow information about interactions with kiters over the years during the migration. We have had a couple of kiters attacked while in the water and off plane during the migration, one seriously. Stephen Schafer was killed by an attack during the blacktip migration but likely by a larger shark such as a bull or tiger following the migration as an easy food source. We have had some kiters with bitten hands from doing hand drags in waves, note to self, NO HAND drags. They hit a lot more surfers and swimmers than kiters. They don't like the way we taste apparently but you have to be bitten to pass along that information.

I have heard of a number of near collisions with tt and surfboards down here. I almost had a couple myself on a tt but launched jumps to clear them. Looking at kite photography, the blacktips may ignore you on a tt or surfboard, until you transition, then they seem to dart over for a look. I have seen imagery of sharks breaking off to follow chase a kite foiler. Many of these cases have been in clearer water.

It is fair to say if you wipeout near or on a shark, even a blacktip you have a higher chance of being hit, sometimes. They may haul ass or have a go at you in sudden reaction.

Thank you for the information about the turbidity and slower foil. I can't swear to it but suspect that all our boards have a loud acoustic signature to sharks. Whether they que to it, hard to say and yet there are those transition behaviors which seem to be sound triggered. Oscillations coming off a mast and foil seem like they would be loud and distinctive too but am not certain about that either where shark perception is concerned. Think articulated lure with a diving plane.

Lots of guys wing in sharky clear waters and I have yet to hear many smoking gun reports yet. How about other riders who wing or hydrofoil in more turbid shark prone waters, what has your experience been like? As to the guys with marine mammals and white sharks, yours is a world apart from my normal waters. Still, what have you seen and experienced?

Thanks
junebug wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 2:26 pm
To the OP -- I'm glad you are okay. That sounds terrifying. Thanks for posting.

I live about 3 hours south, in Charleston, South Carolina. I kitefoil 90% of the time now, and have for the past 5 years or so. I never had a shark encounter in the 10 years I rode a twin tip exclusively, other than seeing small sand sharks in shallow water sandbars around inlets and the occasional spinner shark jumping out of the water.

Once I started kitefoiling, though, and especially once I got a faster foil, I started hitting sharks all the time, like every third session or so. Our water is murky, and at first I assumed it was just random fish or trash in the water, which it may be sometimes, but on clear days I could see the sharks right before I hit them. They are usually 4-6 foot sharks. I'm not sure of the species, but our waters have lots of blacktips, spinners, and bulls, among others.

In one clear-day session I hit 3 sharks in about an hour. I was able to see them just below the surface but too late to avoid them. Obviously, when I hit them, I would go flying off the foil, and those few seconds collecting myself and trying to locate the board for a quick waterstart were pretty nerve-racking, but, so far, no bites. Touch wood.

I ride a different foil now, a slower one, and it hardly happens at all any more. My best guesses are that (1) they couldn't get out of the way of the faster foil in time to avoid it and/or (2) there was something about the harmonics of of my faster foil that attracted them.

Around here, there's a sure-fire way to tell if a shark is nearby:

Step 1 -- dip your finger in the water
Step 2 -- lick your finger. If it's salty, there are sharks nearby.

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Re: Shark Encounters

Postby Greenturtle » Wed Jul 21, 2021 9:10 pm

Ive had a few encounters with large, curious to mildly aggressive sharks while spearfishing that all ended well with nothing more than a bit of adrenaline rush. But never anything to speak of while kiteboarding.

For those who haven’t seen this youtube vid of an average bull attacking a spearo, have a look. Its quite an example of just how very very intentional shark can be when they make up their mind to attack. This one comes in hot and the spearo gets super lucky. Shark very unlucky.

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Re: Shark Encounters

Postby Hugh2 » Wed Jul 21, 2021 10:27 pm

I've only hit a shark once, off Cape Hatteras, a large hammerhead. I was on a TT. I hit it's dorsal fin right at the moment I realized it was there. It took off real fast, but I was still a little shaken up.

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Re: Shark Encounters

Postby droffats » Wed Jul 21, 2021 10:37 pm

So, Rick I, you have the most clout on safety I know of, any way to contact Discovery Channel for next year's Shark Week where they can do a show on foils and sharks? They do the research over the fall/winter and prep the show for next year's SHARK! week. Then again, do we really want to know if sharks are attracted to foils? I've seen some of that from the kite or lines footage where sharks dart over towards foils then dark away in a curious sort of way, but bulls and tigers are more, "bit first, decide if I like it later" kinda fish.


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