Kawikas road to recovery

Hello, today I am sharing the story of Kawika Matsu, a friend, a brother, and a waterman! 

On July 24th, Kawika was the victim of an unprovoked Great White Shark attack while paddle boarding about 90 meters off the coast of Ascension Island. Ascension Island is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, south of the equator between Brazil and Africa, and is one of the most remote places on earth.

At this point, there is only one news report in the world, about what happened to our friend and brother; that being in The Telegraph out of the United Kingdom: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/27/second-shark-attack-three-months-ascension-island/

Kawika had spent the last year working on the island, and was days away from returning to his friends and family back here in the states. As a native Hawaiian, his love and passion for the ocean is what drew him to the island in the first place. 

He was trying to enjoy his last few days on the island by doing what he loves most, being on the water. While paddle boarding, he was struck by a large Great White Shark from below and knocked into the air. 

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 3 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.

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. 

On behalf of all those who love him, Mahalo! 



  • Anonymous 
    • $200 
    • 40 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 44 mos
  • Dave Mann 
    • $100 
    • 45 mos
  • Barbara Reiling 
    • $25 
    • 50 mos
  • Mark Paquette 
    • $1,000 
    • 51 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Kai Matsu 
Pearl City, HI
Kawika Matsu 
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