‘Jaws’ IRL: Massive Shark Attacks Kayak Off Oahu, Startling Angler

Clare Fitzgerald
Photo Credit: Education Images / Universal Images Group / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Education Images / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

An angler is lucky to have come out unscathed after a large tiger shark attacked his kayak off the coast of Hawaii. The harrowing incident occurred in mid-May 2023 and was caught on a GoPro camera, with the footage later uploaded to YouTube.

Tiger shark swimming along the ocean floor
Photo Credit: Reinhard Dirscherl / ullstein bild / Getty Images

Scott Haraguchi was operating the kayak when the encounter occurred over a mile from the shore of Kualoa, in Windward Oahu. He’d just caught a fish when the large shark bit the side of his vessel, with the incident shocking him so much that he instinctually kicked at the creature. He also screamed out a warning to his fishing companion.

Speaking with local outlet KITV 4, Haraguchi recalled, “I heard a whooshing sound that sounded like a boat heading towards me without the motor, and I looked up and I saw this wide brown thing, which my brain thought was a turtle, but then I got slammed by it and realized that it was a tiger shark.”

Shortly after the attack, the angler noticed an injured seal nearby, leading him to theorize that the apex predator likely thought his kayak was its wounded prey. “I am thinking that the shark actually disabled and wounded the seal, let it die or was waiting for it to die, came back and thought I was the seal, and attacked me instead,” he explained.

Tiger shark swimming underwater
Photo Credit: Reinhard Dirscherl / ullstein bild / Getty Images

Tiger sharks are solitary night hunters known for being particularly aggressive. They eat a wide variety of prey, including squid, fish, seals, dolphins, sea snakes, turtles and birds.

According to statistics, tiger sharks are second only to great whites when it comes to fatal attacks on humans. As they are typically found in tropical and subtropical regions, it’s not uncommon for the creatures to encounter tourists who are visiting the world’s warmer regions.

According to the International Shark Attack File drawn up by the Florida Museum of Natural History, there were 57 unprovoked and 32 provoked shark bites worldwide in 2022, as well as four incidents of the creatures attacking boats. The United States saw the most, with 41 recorded bites, one of which proved fatal. Florida noted the highest amount, at 16, while Hawaii saw five.

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The incident occurred not far from where a 20-foot tiger shark was spotted the next day, prompting officials to close nearby North Beach and post warnings to tourists and residents. Despite what could have been a fatal encounter, Haraguchi said he’ll continue fishing. “I realize that life is short, time is short on Earth, so make the most of it,” he remarked.


Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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