An Australian man had a terrifying, close encounter with a great white shark while kayaking off the South Australian coast.
Professional fisherman Matthew Gorne had been angling from his kayak off the coast of Port Augusta when he saw the large creature approaching. The incident was captured on his GoPro and supplied to Yahoo News Australia.
While many would be terrified by the situation, both he and the shark remain remarkably calm as it glides underneath and around his kayak. But suddenly it leaves the water, lunging at his paddle and startling the nervous kayaker before it swims off. Mr Gorne swears, then continues paddling.
After sharing an image of the encounter to his Facebook page on Monday, social media users responded in awe. “Epic pic mate,” one person wrote. “Holy sh*t man!” Someone else exclaimed. “The shark was lonely (and) wanted to play Matty boy,” another joked.
Back on dry land, Mr Gorne conceded to The Advertiser he was “stupid” for heading out without a shark shield, a device that helps repel sharks.
“I will definitely be investing in one now though,” he said.
What was the great white shark doing when it came out of the water?
Australian Marine Conservation Society shark expert Dr Leonardo Guida told Yahoo News Australia sharks are “very curious animals”, and that “we can't necessarily predict what a wild animal will do”.
“This instance with the kayaker just goes to show that every encounter with a shark is not what we typically think of,” he said. “Nonetheless getting this close can be overwhelming for the person involved because it is something quite unique to come face to face with one of the ocean's biggest and most powerful predators.”
Dr Guida said the shark was likely “just cruising along” when it saw the kayak. Upon seeing the ore, it displayed what appeared to be “inquisitive behaviour”. “The shark has seen the kayak on the surface and perhaps caught a glimpse of the shadow of the oar and has gone up to the surface to see what it is,” he said.
"Great whites will also exhibit a behaviour called spy hopping, in which they'll actually put their head above the surface of the water and visually see what's going on,” he said. “ It's come up, it's had a look, it's gone: Alright, nothing too special. Then it's circled around and made its way back out."
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