Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017

Kawika Akana Matsu, of Volcano, survived a great white shark attack and a Go Fund Me campaign
 is helping him to recover. Photos from Kai Matsu.
GREAT WHITE SHARK VICTIM KAWIKA AKANA MATSU, of Volcano, is recovering and a Go Fund Me Campaign is running to help him with expenses. The 37 year old waterman was working on Ascension, one of the most remote places on the planet, an island a quarter of the size of Lana`i in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between South America and Africa. He said he was attacked by one or two great white sharks in nearshore waters.
    Ascension's waters are a bountiful feeding area for great whites, with an abundance of green sea turtles laying eggs in some 24,000 nests on its beaches each year. It has a reputation for some of the largest marlins anywhere. Great Britain will establish a 90,460 square mile marine preserve around Ascension and its sister islands this year. It also has a U.S. Air Force facility and climate research station, and a British Air Force facility.
A long way from home, Ascension Island is where Volcano native Kawika Akana Matsu
was attacked by great white sharks.
     Matsu's account is that on July 24 he was hanging out with friends at a beach barbecue at English Bay on Ascension. He decided to cool off by taking his paddle board out to sea. About 100 feet offshore, a great white nosed his board throwing him into the air and grabbing his shoulder when he landed back in the water. 
     Matsu's brother, Kai Matsu tells more on the Go Fund Me page:
Kawika Akana Matsu left with a friend on Ascension Island.
     "Before he could get back on his board, the shark had turned and bit into his right-side torso and shoulder. He was able to fight, and managed to get in a few hits to the shark’s nose, and it released him.
     "He swam again for his board, and the shark came back again and tore into his leg and high thigh. Miraculously, he was able to break free once more, and managed to pull himself back onto to his stand-up paddle board.
     "At this point he realized the severity of his situation. He was critically bitten, losing a lot of blood, drifting out to sea, and now being circled by several sharks. Even still, he had the presence of mind to remain calm, turn his board’s leash into a tourniquet, and wait for rescue. It took about a half an hour for someone to finally get to him, and by then, he had lost a lot of blood. 
     "Once back on land, the small local community of 800, people came together to help donate many pints of blood and treat his wounds. He spent the next three days waiting to be airlifted to a hospital in Florida that was equipped to deal with the severity of his condition.
     "There, a specialized team of surgeons have been working to treat him, but he will be needing all the support he can get now. In these difficult times ahead, he will need the support of his friends, and the community as a whole.
     "His recovery time will be both extensive and very expensive, but he wants to try to recover as quickly as possible, so he can return to being a waterman. He will never lose his passion for the ocean, and wants to heal and return to the life he loves.  
After two weeks in ICU, Kawika Akana Matsu is out of ICU,
following an attack by one or more great white sharks.
     "We are asking for your compassion and charity to help an amazing person overcome an overwhelming amount of medical bills, loss of his ability to work, and to help keep him comfortable during his arduous and long recovery ahead. Most of all we would like to thank all the people that helped to keep Kawika alive through there heroic actions, giving blood, and loving support."
      After treatment at the Ascension Hospital, Kawika Matsu was air lifted to Brazil and then  to Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, an 8,000 mile journey.
      He has undergone five surgeries for skin and muscle grafts in a Ft. Lauderdale Hospital and hopes to return to Volcano soon, following a sixth surgery. After two weeks in ICU, he was moved yesterday to his own hospital room.
       Kai Matsu said that Kawika spent the last year working on Ascension and was days away from returning to his friends and family when attacked by the great white shark. "As a native Hawaiian, his love and passion for the ocean is what drew him to the island in the first place." Major Daniel Schempp, commander of the U.S. Air Force unit on Ascension, where Matsu worked as an air conditioning engineer, told the British newspaper, The Telegraph that Matsu is "like a water god... he seems invincible in the sea."
     The Telegraph reported that it was the second shark attack in three months on Ascension Island.
See the Kawika Recovery account on Go Fund Me.

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Pick up the August edition of The Ka`u Calendar delivered
free to 5,500 mailboxes throughout Ka`u, from Miloli`i 
through Volcano. Also available on stands throughout
the district. See it online at www.kaucalendar.com
Senior ID, Mon, Aug 14, 9 – 11 a.m., St. Jude’s Church in Ocean View. For ages 60 and up. 928-3100

Statehood Flag Craft, Wed, Aug 16, 3:30 – 5 p.m., Pāhala Community Center. Grades K – 8 register Aug 7 – 15. 928-0312

Hawai‘i International Music Festival, Wed, Aug 16, 7 p.m., Pāhala Plantation House. Metropolitan Opera Soprano Amy Shoremount Obra, daughter-in-law of Lorie Obra, of Rusty’s Hawaiian Coffee, raises awareness of efforts to restore buildings to host a living heritage and education center and to curate and honor the history of Pāhala. Also performing will be violinist

Kainani Kahaunaele Performs, Wed, Aug 16, 6:30 – 8 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Enjoy the mele of Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning Kainani Kahaunaele, who shares songs from her albums. Free; park entrance fees apply.

Tango and classical music are among the offerings at the Hawai`i International 
Music Festival concert at Pahala Plantation House on Wednesday, Aug. 16 at 7 p.m.

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