“There was a giant bite mark. That could have been me.”
Any surfer who has traveled to the Hawaiian Island chain knows that it is paradisiacal but also knows a dark menace lurks beneath the plumeria and hibiscus flowers. Violently spilled açaí bowls. But also wild pigs. Nasty things that defecate in water sources, root around for goodness only knows what and terrify the unsuspecting.
Usually, this terror occurs on terra firma with the beasties snorting and glaring. They are not afraid of humankind and so gladly charge, tusks bloody and gross.
Sometimes, though, it occurs in the surf and let us, quickly, to Igrid Seiple’s harrowing tale on Oahu’s North Shore.
One day in December 2021, I drove out at dawn to Mokulē’ia beach on Oahu’s north shore. I picked a spot to surf and went down to the shore with a friend. It was a beautiful morning. The sun was out and the waves no bigger than two feet. We paddled out; he went right and I turned left. The nearest people were 200 metres away.
I began surfing the waves, then saw something floating towards me. I wondered if it was a seal, but it looked stiff. Suddenly, it lifted its head out of the water. I was eye to eye with a wild boar, only 1.5 metres from me. It was shocked – and so was I. It had a bloody face as if it had been attacked, the longest snout, with tusks like a baby mastodon, and a look of desperation. I was afraid and, more than that, surprised. What was it doing here?
It started piggy-paddling towards me with all its might. I turned to paddle away, but its face was at my foot. I got off my board and placed it between us as a safety barrier. The pig pulled itself up and took a chunk out of the board with its teeth. I swam underwater in the other direction, and when I surfaced 3 metres away I realised it had broken through the fibreglass casing of the board and crunched through the foam. There was a giant bite mark. That could have been me.
Seiple, thankfully, made a getaway but if she hadn’t I’m certain the most feared pig hunter on the island would have been called in to TCB.
Or don’t you remember how I was an integral part of a crack team that slayed a terror up Kualoa Ranch way.