Tracking Tiger Sharks in Hawaii

To learn more about the migratory patterns of tiger sharks, researchers have been tracking those that lurk Hawaiian waters. And as useful as that information sounds, I – as a surfer – would rather NOT know!

Even though I have been surfing since I was a kid, I still have not yet overcome my fear of sharks! I trick myself into thinking I overcame it, though, by simply ignoring them. Ignoring the fact that there are probably one or two “braddahs” surfing the lineup with me or patrolling the outskirts of the break.

I’d like to think that although I’m afraid, I’m not nearly as afraid. Baby reef sharks don’t scare me too much. There was one time when fellow surfers in the lineup at Rock Piles had spotted one once. Most of us ended up staying out because the surf was too good to pass up.

While ignoring them has worked out just fine so far, there are certain places where I just can’t seem to tear my mind away from the thought of their sharp teeth. There’s one surf spot on Kauai known for its murky, brown waters. That’s because it is located at the mouth of a river. I’ll admit, I freak when a turtle pops its head out of the water or a stick brushes against my leg. If it wasn’t for the perfectly-peeling lefts, I would probably not be out there.

To know where a tiger shark hangs out could also mean I will never surf some of my favorite breaks again. This study comes in the wake of recent attacks; so far in 2013, eight people have been bitten by a shark, including four in the past few weeks. Most were on Maui.

The two-year study will track the movement of tiger sharks throughout Maui waters first. Tracking devices will be put on the dorsal of the shark and monitored via satellite. Even with all this impressive technology, I’m still not quite sure I want to know where tigers hang out…unless it is news that they don’t hangout where I surf. Eek!

Photo Courtesy: Wiki Commons

Posted by: Bruce Fisher