Teen surfer attacked by shark faces long road to recovery

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It’s been two weeks since a Kaneohe teenager was bitten by a shark at White Plains Beach in Ewa, and it appears his road to recovery is going to be a long one.

Kiowa Gatewood, 19, is anxious to get out of bed and get moving.

“I’m a very active person and just right now, just laying in bed is just not something I would do,” Gatewood said.

But Gatewood is a realistic about his goals, knowing the wounds he suffered from the shark attack on July 30 are severe.

“The bite was here and in another spot, so the stitches go all the way down and stops and then goes again,” Gatewood said.

He’s replayed that day in his mind over and over again.

“It was numbing. I didn’t feel it, but I knew I got bit. The best thing to do that I did was that I didn’t look at it,” Gatewood said.

But when he finally did…

“It was worse than I thought,” Gatewood said. “It knew I wasn’t food because it let go and swam away. That was the best thing it could have done because it could have been worse.”

Gatewood’s grandmother Eleanor Hee is caring for him.

“His insurance doesn’t provide for home care,” Hee said. “The doctors are looking at Feb. 1 before he can return back to work.”

“It is hard not being able to work or have any income coming in,” Gatewood said.

In an effort to cover medical and home care costs, friends are hosting a fundraiser on Sunday, Aug. 18 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Ruby Tuesday in Kaneohe, where Gatewood works. A second fundraiser will also take place on Wednesday, Aug. 21 at Boardriders Bar & Grill in Kailua from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

A recovery fund has also been set up. Donations can be made at any Bank of Hawaii branch.

“Life takes different turns and you have to make due,” Hee said.

Gatewood hopes to begin physical therapy in two weeks and soon return to White Plains Beach.

“My friend that went with me he said we should not go back. I kind of want to go back just to have like closure for myself,” Gatewood said.

Related story: Surfer attacked by shark credits board for saving life

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