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RickI 02-03-2010 08:27 PM

Fatal shark attack
There has been an awful accident involving a well liked kiteboarder in Martin County. My sincere regrets go out to his family and friends for his loss. It is a tight community up there and this has to hit very hard.

A well experienced kiteboarder was attacked off Hutchenson Island at about 4:15 pm today. He was reportedly in the water off his board about 1/4 mile offshore and seen to be swimming into shore in an unguarded area. A commotion was seen in the water around the kiter and what may have been bull sharks attacked the kiter. A lifeguard responded and paddled out to the man who had suffered several bites. Sharks were reportedly still circling the man. He was brought back to the beach and first aid administered. He was taken to a nearby hospital about a mile away. Despite rapid medical care he passed away in hospital. Spinner sharks have been migrating through the area in large quantities in recent weeks however less common and more aggressive bull sharks may have been responsible for this grievous attack.

This is the first fatal shark attack that I have heard of on a kiteboarder worldwide. There have been six other attacks that I have heard of that usually were "minor" in nature over the last ten years worldwide.

Additional information:

I normally don't like to include names but it is in the news already and friends from other areas may want to know. Steve Schafer was the kiter who passed away. Rest in peace Steve.

bayflite 02-03-2010 09:18 PM

so awful.
r.i.p. brother
condolences to the family.

RickI 02-03-2010 09:59 PM

This was posted on kiteforum


Originally Posted by mariner
Steve Schafer RIP

Exact details unknown - sharks have been abundant - no one else out [on water] at the time - kite went down - Guards stated he was swimming towards kite - then not swimming - water discolored - Guard scrambled paddle board - he was conscious to beach apparently; blood loss, CPR [failed] - passed either in-route or at hospital...
Local community is REALLY stunned & down - he was the last person anyone would have wanted to see go...
miss you already, so sad...

RickI 02-04-2010 03:50 AM
Steve during a 2007 kiting session, Photos by Chris Shultz

More about Steve, a very experienced and well rounded waterman, some have said near world class surfer, from a close friend of 25 years in a video interview:

"STUART — A 38-year-old kiteboard surfer attacked by sharks Wednesday afternoon has died from his injuries, according to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.

It was Martin County’s first fatal shark attack, according to records going back to 1882.

About 4 p.m., a lifeguard was looking through his binoculars and saw Stephen Howard Schafer, 38, of Stuart, in distress about a quarter of a mile off shore from an unguarded beach just south of Stuart Beach, officials said."
Continued at:

The Kite House 02-04-2010 07:32 AM

Man, that sucks....i really wish his family the best.

Did anyone hear if bait fish where running? Really a shame to hear this, want to try to understand why it happened. I have been bit by sharks and cuda both spearing and kiting. Things can go bad fast and bull sharks are the grumpiest fish i have ever met.

Again my condolences to the family.

FL_Kiteboarder 02-04-2010 07:43 AM

Initial local tv news coverage

More local tv news coverage of this horrible incident.

ABC NEWS coverage

Brief mention this morning from NBC NEWS

Related coverage -

Stuart man dies from shark attack near Stuart Beach
Article contains many shark stats for FL and Treasure Coast.

Young great white sharks possible culprit in fatal Stuart shark attack, researcher says


BigR 02-04-2010 07:55 AM

I've kited bathtub reef just south of where the attack happened, there are alotta fish on that reef. It sucks that he got attacked.
Condolences to his family

C. Moore 02-04-2010 10:05 AM

My heart goes out to his family and friends. RIP Steve.

RickI 02-04-2010 10:11 AM

Hopefully in time more information may come out to help us understand why this happened. Surfer and swimmer shark attacks are vastly more common than those involving kiters. While we're above the water and planning we seem to be different but once we're off the board and in the water, we become more similar in aspect.

I understand the water has been particularly cool off Hutchinson Island. The shark migration is going as it normally does, independent of other major bait fish migrations. At the same time, there are a lot of fish available to the sharks, blue runners, whitefish, pompano, etc.. I understand the whitefish are even running into the ICW from the beach areas. Spinner sharks by nature prey on fish and aren't known to actively go after humans. This may be as much by our relative large size as anything else. Larger sharks, such as bulls may have been involved as one report suggests. Despite there being very large numbers of spinner sharks in the migration, there are also quantities of bull, lemon and hammerhead sharks in the area as well. The larger sharks feed on the smaller spinner sharks.

neil xrated 02-04-2010 10:31 AM

This is a very sad time. Not quite sure what to say, but sincere condolences to Steve's family and friends. If there is anything I can do to help during this terrible time please let me know. RIP. Neil

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