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Pohoiki Bay on the Big Island is back open a day after a teenage was attacked by a shark.
The victim, 16-year-old “Ulu Boy” Napeahi was bit just after 1:30 p.m. Sunday while surfing at the spot known as “Dead Trees.”
The shark attack happened at his favorite hometown break just one day before he was going to fly to Oahu for the Duke’s Oceanfest HIC Pro.
Napeahi was on the minds of many at the surfing competition in Waikiki.
“All here for you, praying for you last night, and hoping for a quick recovery back in the water with us soon,” surfer Riggs Napolean said.
Napeahi is one of the top junior surfers in the state. He finished first place in several divisions at the Hawaii State Surfing Championships this past May and also turned heads at the North Shore’s famed Pipeline.
“He made a huge impact at Pipeline this past winter at the young age of 15, surfing big Pipeline and turning a lot of heads this past winter,” Napeahi’s surfboard shaper Jud Lau said.
“He’s a big guy and a lot of power and uses it on the waves well. Doesn’t seem to have a lot of problem with wave size and fits in the program great,” said Jack Shipley, with the Association of Surfing Professionals.
But he’s also respected for his big heart and passion for the sport.
“Overall Ulu, he’s an awesome boy, great kid, bring future. So humble,” Napolean said.
“Ulu is a very talented young man, looking forward to seeing him do a lot greater things as a waterman,” surfer Kimo Miranda said.
Napeahi has been surfing since he was 4-years-old and has hopes of moving into the professional ranks of surfing.
He’s expecting two to three months of recovery and rehab.
“It will make him stronger, no doubt. He’ll recover, he’ll be on top of his game,” Miranda said.
Napeahi told friends on his Facebook page, “I will surf again, mark my word, I will!”
His sponsor, Da Hui, and everyone at Duke’s Oceanfest has no doubt that he will keep that promise, and will support him all the way.
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