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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:38 pm 
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The answer is, of course, a Hobie Sport. Lame, I know...

But there is some very interesting research being undertaken by Taronga Zoo researchers to see whether sharks mistake in-water profiles, like surfers on surf boards or - dread thought - small yellow kayaks, for seals. The article is entitled: "Do sharks really mistake humans for seals? Researchers test 'mistaken identity' theory". The link to the story is http://www.canberratimes.com.au/technology/sci-tech/do-sharks-really-mistake-humans-for-seals-researchers-test-mistaken-identity-theory-20150405-1meqwf.html (I don't think it is behind a paywall).

The researchers will be testing the effectiveness of shark attack deterrents, such as lights on the underside of surf boards.


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 1:36 pm 
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Prompted by this story, I used the statistics available at Shark Attack Files (http://www.sharkattackfile.net/incidentlog.htm) to do a quick and dirty assessment of the shark attack risks faced by those of us who love to go down to the sea in small kayaks. Thought it might be instructive to include other small hulls in the assessment - paddleboards, surfskis, sailboards, kiteboards, wakeboards and, yes, even surf boards.

I tried to summarise the data using the diagram below that shows the number shark attacks over the last ten years, by ocean-based activity, broken down into extent of injury caused by those attacks (fatal, injured, uninjured). The key aspects of each shark attack on kayaks over the ten year period are somewhat hastily summarised in an appendix to this post (see below).

Image

Shark attacks on kayaks numbered 31 over this period, or 2.8 percent of the total of 1100 attacks. But it can’t be concluded that kayaking is any more or less prone to shark attack than any other activity because we don’t accurately know the numbers undertaking each activity. For example, there are many more surfers than kayakers and so surfers appear a lot more often in the statistics.

Only one kayaker died as a result of shark attack. He bled to death from a bite to the leg that he was apparently dangling in the water while he was fishing. This compares to 122 killed in all activities. Only three kayakers were injured, 0.4 per cent of the 793 non-fatal injuries. That is, most kayakers escaped unharmed from shark attacks.

I formed the impression from my look at the data that the typical shark attack on a hull in the water was by a white shark approaching rapidly from almost straight underneath to take a big initial bite. The evidence to date suggests that sharks don’t usually follow through to attack a person thrown into the water by the impact of the attack – this is the case so far with attacks on kayaks. The initial bite is often devastating to surfers, because a bite of a relatively thin board often means a bite into flesh, whereas with a kayak the bite usually only means contact with the hull.

To me, the typical pattern of shark attack is consistent with sharks either mistaking kayaks for strongly preferred prey (such as seals or sea lions), or chasing off perceived competitors for food resources, rather than looking on humans as food.

In summary, yes, sharks attack kayaks. In my opinion, this is because they mistake kayaks (and other small hulls in the water) for something else. Kayakers figure less prominently in the mortality and injury statistics than other small hull users because the more substantial natures of our hulls afford us a somewhat comforting level of protection.

Appendix
Shark attacks on kayaks: 2005 to 2014
  • 19/10/2014, Leadbetter Beach, Santa Barbara County, California, United States, no injury, canoe bitten
  • 11/10/2014, Castle Rock, north of Dunsborough, Western Australia, Australia, inflatable kayak partially deflated, no injury to two occupants
  • 2pm, 3/10/2014, Santa Barbara County, California, United States, no injury, white shark rammed and overturned kayak, leaving 6-8 tooth punctures
  • 11:30am, 3/10/2014, Santa Barbara County, California, United States, no injury, kayak rammed and overturned by white shark
  • 3/9/2014, Manomet Point, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States, No injury, white shark capsized two kayaks near seal colony, biting one of the kayaks
  • 2/12/2013, man lure fishing from kayak, between Makena & Molokini, Maui, Hawaii, United States, bled to death after shark bit right leg dangling in water
  • 25/06/2013, Pacific State, San Mataeo County, California, United States, no injury, kayak scratched
  • 7/07/2012, Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz County, California, United States, occupant of a 13.5 foot kayak knocked into the water by white shark that left teeth marks and a tooth in the kayak
  • 20/05/2012, Iroquois Point, Oahu, Hawaii, United States, no injury, tiger shark bit kayak (with amas)
  • 12/05/2012, Leffingwell Landing, Cambria, Humboldt County, California, United States, no injury, kayaker fell in the water when kayak bitten by a shark
  • 11/04/2012, Dolphin Bay, Innes National Park, South Australia, Australia, minor wound to kayaker’s thigh when white shark bit his kayak
  • 21/12/2011, Makahuena Point, Kauai, Hawaii, United States, no injury, rudder damaged
  • 21/12/2011, Noordhoek, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, no injury but kayak dented
  • 7/12/2011, KwaZulu-Natal, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, no injury, kayak rammed
  • 22/11/2011, Pigeon Point, California, United States, no injury, kayak bitten by white shark
  • 5/10/2011, Cap La Houssaye, Reunion, no injury, shark charged a kayak, hitting it from beneath the prow and sinking it
  • 20/09/2011, Kauai's south shore, Poipu to Salt Pond, Hawaii, United States, no injury, canoe severely damaged after shark bit it twice
  • 15/07/2011, Saint Gilles, Reunion, no injury, kayak bitten
  • 5/07/2011, Libertad, San Onofre, Sucre, Columbia, serious injuries to right arm
  • 14/08/2010, Pigeon Point, California, United States, no injury, kayak had bite marks from white shark
  • 2/08/2010, five miles off Gaviota State Park, California, United States, no injury, white shark held sea kayak in jaw for 15 seconds, in vicinity of sea lions
  • 20/12/2009, Mudjimba Island, Queensland, Australia, no injury, kayak bumped and circled
  • 30/10/2009, Nunns Beach, Portland, Victoria, Australia, no injury, white shark jaws kayak then capsized it, tooth marks in kayak
  • 27/12/2008, Long Reef, north of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, no injury, white shark toppled occupant of one kayak, then circled a group of rafted up kayaks (plus an aluminium dinghy) for ten minutes
  • 20/12/2008, Dillon Beach, Marin County, California, United States, no injury, white shark struck paddle
  • 21/06/2008, West Cove, Catalina Island, California, United States, no Injury, white shark bumped occupant from kayak
  • 15/10/2007, Byron Bay-Wategos, New South Wales, Australia, four stitches right arm, white shark bit back of sea kayak and tipped occupant into water
  • 21/07/2007, Bean Hollow State Beach, San Mateo County, California, United States, no injury, white shark knocked occupant from kayak
  • 1/02/2006, Off Pu'u Ola'l Makena Maui, Hawaii, United States, no injury, shark bumped kayak repeatedly for 15 minutes
  • 14/05/2005, North Kihei Maui, Hawaii, United States, no injury, tiger shark bit kayak
  • 8/01/2005, Taupiri Bay, North Island, New Zealand, no injury, kayaker engaged in long line fishing 400 metres from shore bumped repeatedly by white shark until safety of shore reached


Last edited by Lead Belly on Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 5:45 pm 
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The article (linked below, including an interesting video) is about black and white striped wetsuits being a possible deterrent to shark attacks but the basic pattern could also be applied to surf boards and kayaks.

The research is being carried out in Western Australia where recently there were five fatal white shark attacks over a ten month period. Western Australia is fairly sparsely populated.

The link is http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/07/shark-attack-wetsuit/397772/

Sorry if this topic has become a monologue but my impression is that the increasing popularity of Hobie fishing kayaks means more and more kayakers are heading into white shark territory. I am interested in what can be done to reduce the risk of shark attack on kayaks (see post above for some statistics).

Would I rather die than be seen in a black and white striped wetsuit and kayak?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 11:02 pm 
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Very interesting! Thanks for taking the time to amass this information and share it! Sharks seem to be an especially high threat there in Australia and for fishermen. In any event, your statistics sound encouraging for kayakers. Here, in the south east states you reported virtually no shark attacks, but then they do have some rather large alligators! I believe some poor guy became a meal just the other day.

Thankfully there isn't much to worry about locally except for the occasional rattler probably looking for a ride. It's a good thing they're not very fast in the water! 8)

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:21 pm 
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I did my own research on Kayaks/Sharks and could not find an instance of a kayaker being swallowed by a shark even after being knocked out of the boat by it.

Most instances took the form of the shark having what is called an, "Investigative Bite", and losing interest after discovering polyethylene.
Most of the attacks are from behind and the Kayaker was not aware of the shark until it had a chew on the stern.

Sharks know what their normal food looks like but an old, or sick shark, will try something that is easier to catch if hungry enough.

By far most attacks are on swimmers who are in the water and the sharks sensitive nose can "feel" their heartbeats and electric impulse muscle-firing.

We Yakker's, if not fishing, do not register as living things on the shark radar the same way a swimmer or surfer does.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:12 pm 
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The dust has settled on 2015, so I thought I would update my look at the statistics of shark attacks on kayaks (see post above). Again I have used the summary device of a diagram and have also listed the nature of each attack on a kayak in 2015 at the end of the post.

Image

There were seven shark attacks on kayaks in 2015 of which only one resulted in injury. All kayaks involved were listed in Global Shark Attack Files as 'fishing kayaks'. If you look at the trend in shark attacks on kayaks over time, there has been an noticeable uptick in recent years, probably reflecting the increase in the number of kayaks taking to the sea and venturing further out.

As far as I can tell, skymax is right so far: 'I did my own research on Kayaks/Sharks and could not find an instance of a kayaker being swallowed by a shark even after being knocked out of the boat by it', though I don't think knowledge of that fact would stop you living your life pretty intensely until you got to safety. However, there have been injuries (and one death) over the past decade where kayakers have limbs, particularly legs, dangling in the water.

Take-to-sea message from the statistics: not a good idea to fish with your legs over the side. Not all sharks are autograph hunters like the Mick Fanning one.

Shark attacks on kayaks: 2015
  • 26/12/2015, Westbrook Beach, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, no injury, kayak damaged, white shark
  • 13/10/2015, Off Leffingwell Landing, San Luis Obispo County, California, United States, no injury, kayak rammed repeatedly, hammerhead shark
  • 24/9/2015, Horseshoe Rock, Santa Barbara County, California, United States no injury, kayak damaged, white shark
  • 5/9/2015, Deer Creek Beach, Ventura County, California, United States, laceration to dorsum of foot that was over the side of the kayak. Kayaker had hooked the hammerhead shark.
  • 18/8/2015, Santa Barbara County, California, United States, no injury, kayak bitten, white shark
  • 23/7/2015, La Jolla, San Diego County, California, United States, no injury to occupant. Kayak bitten by gaffed mako shark.
  • 26/3/2015, Yellow Sands Point, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, no injury, kayak bitten, white shark


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 5:59 pm 
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The coast of Western Australia is a hotspot for white sharks:

Kayaker has too-close encounter with shark, Albany, Western Australia

We kayakers have to be careful in their habitat...


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:22 pm 
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A 2016 update for shark attack statistics. Only two reported incidents involving kayaks in 2016 and no injuries to kayakers (see appendix).

Image

Appendix
Shark attacks on kayaks: 2016
  • 28/7/2016, Near Albany, Western Australia, no injury, kayak nudged repeatedly, white shark
  • 29/1/2016, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, no injury, kayak capsized, white shark


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:12 am 
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For info

Shark attack on kayaker, Queensland, Australia... https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-15/kayaker-escapes-shark-attack-moffat-beach-qld/10499556


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:02 pm 
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Record number of reported shark attacks on kayaks in 2017. Tally since 2005 is 52 with one fatality and five injuries (if you don't count PTSD). When kayaking in known haunts of large sharks, think of yourself as a semi-soft plastic lure.

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