I was stupid: Whale Rider

The man who sparked a worldwide media storm by surfing a dead whale carcass that had attracted big sharks off Rottnest says he is lucky to be alive and regrets his "stupid act".

Harrison, who did not want his surname published, said he did not notice the feeding sharks before his short swim from his friend's boat to the humpback carcass on Saturday afternoon.

The City of Stirling closed Scarborough beach after the carcass washed up on a sandbar.

A spokeswoman said council staff would work with other agencies to dispose of the carcass.

The whale carcass being removed this morning. Picture: 7 News Perth

Surf Life Saving WA reports there was a 3m shark about 15m off the beach.

Images of Harrison sitting on the 12m whale went viral yesterday, with British news website Daily Mail running the headline "Moby Thick".

Harrison, 26, said one of his mates suggested it would be funny to get a picture "surfing" the whale. "So I just did it," Harrison said.

"I was too busy jumping on the whale to notice the sharks. It then got to the stage where I thought, 'I'm in the s… now'."


Sharks were drawn to the dead whale. Picture: Simon Hydzik/Seven News

Reflecting on the "heat of the moment" decision, Harrison said he felt grateful to escape unscathed.

"It was definitely a stupid act," he said. "Mum thinks I'm an idiot. Dad's not too proud either.

"I didn't mean any disrespect to anyone. Afterwards, I was pretty grateful to be alive still."

Harrison and the whale. Picture: Seven News

He said no way would he do it again.

Fisheries Department regional manager Tony Cappelluti said Harrison's behaviour was irresponsible.

"It potentially could have had some critical consequences - not only for the person but also for the witnesses and other people who would have had to assist," Mr Cappelluti said.

"It is very risky to enter the water around that type of large food source because even if you can't see sharks, it's highly likely the carcass is attracting them from a long way away.

"Irrespective of some type of adrenaline rush, or whatever you're trying to get out of performing that type of act, it's highly risky."

Harrison's actions drew criticism from authorities and online chatter. Picture: Simon Hydzik/Seven News