Here we go again. Television’s fetishization of hunting in Hawaii–begun with great controversy two years ago with the History Channel’s reality show American Jungle–is now continuing with a new Discovery Channel show titled Pacific Warriors.
“For centuries, generations of Hawaiians have caught these monster fish from small, hand-made canoes, using nothing more than a fishing pole and their bare hands,” states a Sept. 28 Discovery Channel press release. “Now, a rare breed of men and women–armed with just a sea kayak–are re-inventing this ancient art, and risking their lives to catch 100-plus pound fish. One fresh catch can reel in $1,500 dollars or more; but big rewards bring stiff competition.”
Big rewards, sure, but also a certain amount of danger–which the show press release almost drools over.
“Though these men and women survive and thrive by living off the ocean, kayak fishing is not for the faint of heart; even the slightest mistake can invite deadly consequences,” states the press release. “The series follows seven teams as they train and battle it out on the rough waters. Using primitive means, the fearless fishermen and women are regularly taken on what they call ‘Hawaiian Sleigh Rides,’ which occur when they hook monster fish that drag them out to sea–sometimes as much as 10 miles or more. They also fend off sharks regularly, deeming them “tax men,” which are looking for an easy meal.”
The dangers involved are no joke. In December 2013, a shark killed a tourist from Stevenson, Washington who was kayak fishing off Makena. Patrick Briney, 57, had been dangling his feet in the water while fishing when a shark bit him, taking off the foot and tearing a gash in his leg. Briney died before his friend in a nearby kayak could get him to shore, according to this Dec. 3, 2013 The Daily News Online story.
It’ll be interesting to see if Pacific Warriors avoids the controversy that plagued the old American Jungle series. That show drew the ire of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources in 2013.
“The values of the show are completely opposite of what hunters in Hawaii do,” said then-DLNR Chairman William Aila in this Nov. 29, 2013 KITV report. “There are values of respect and sharing. Not what is portrayed in this so-called reality show… We’re already getting calls from out of state hunters wanting to know how they can come to Hawaii and hunt at night. We have to tell them it’s illegal to hunt at night in Hawaii.”
Pacific Warriors premiers Friday, Oct. 23 on the Discovery Channel.
Photo courtesy The Discovery Channel