Kauai drowning victim had survived shark attack
He becomes the third experienced surfer to drown off Poipu
POIPU, Kauai » Kenneth "Kenny" Doudt, who drowned at his favorite Kauai surf spot Saturday, had survived what news media reports described as one of the worst great white shark attacks in the Pacific Northwest.
Doudt, 53, of Koloa, a finish carpenter and father of three boys, died while surfing Center's, said friend Miguel Graham, manager of the local surf shop Nukumoi Surf Co.
Doudt was "one of the pieces of the puzzle" -- that is, part of the regular lineup at Center's, the middle of three very popular surf spots off Prince Kuhio Beach, said Graham.
Graham was also surfing at Center's when Doudt went down. "We saw him catch a wave, paddle back out and then he was just floating," Graham said.
Doudt is the third highly experienced surfer to die in the area in the past two years.
Both Eric Carvalho, 48, and Russell Souza, 47, like Doudt, had surfed the area for decades. Carvalho died last July and Souza died in September 2005.
"It's just baffling to me," Graham added.
County Public Information Officer Mary Daubert said that autopsy results confirmed the cause of death was drowning.
Doudt was always hanging out in the area, Graham said, surfing, talking and fishing. And, of course, telling those who asked about his encounter with a huge shark that nearly took his life.
In November 1979, Doudt was surfing near Cannon Beach, Ore., when a great white, estimated to be 15 feet long, clamped onto his chest from his armpit to below his waist, according to a number of reports.
He was dragged under, but the shark gave up, likely because the surfboard kept Doudt buoyant.
His fellow surfers pulled him in, and he needed more than 500 stitches to close the wound.
Doudt wrote a book about the experience, "Surfing with the Great White Shark," and ran a Web site, www.shark-bite.com.
Graham said he met Doudt soon after he moved to Kauai.
"He was a really good guy, a good father, a good son," Graham added. "He's going to be missed by a lot of people for sure."
Of his three sons, Jeremy "Skiz" and Justin live on Kauai and surf, like their dad, said Graham. Jerry lives with his mother in Ohio.
"Kenny was really proud of all his sons," he said.
Doudt is also survived by his mother and sister, both of Texas.
His friends are planning a memorial paddle-out the weekend of the May 19, Graham said.
"It's still hard that he's gone. But that's the way he wanted to go."