A man rode a shark off the Florida coast, and it was all caught on film. Chris Kreis, age 19, and his family, were boating in the Gulf of Mexico when the teen suddenly jumped off the back of the boat and latched on to a passing shark.
The whale shark’s massive size did not deter the teen. As reported by ABC News, the shark was close to 30 feet long and likely weighed close to 50,000 pounds. Luckily the shark did not seem annoyed by Kreis’ presence on its back.
Kreis held onto the shark’s dorsal fin as it pulled him through the sparkling blue water. The teen explains what prompted him to hitch a ride with the whale shark:
“I decided, you know what, maybe I should go try and swim with him. I might not be able to do it ever again.”
The man rode the shark for around 10 seconds before it began to descend. At that point Kreis decided to let go and return to the boat.
As reported by WTSP, whale sharks are not generally aggressive. They are known to be quite gentle. However, interacting with sea creatures is not advised.
Whale sharks are not listed as endangered, so Kreis will not face criminal charges for his interaction. Thankfully, the teen was not harmed while riding the shark. Unfortunately, he may have caused harm to the shark.
Humans who interact with sharks and other sea life not only risk their safety, they also risk disturbing a delicate balance. Whale sharks and many other fish are covered with a layer of “slime” that is meant to protect their skin. If that coating is wiped off it can lead to negative health issues.
Authorities have protected some species’ with laws preventing human interaction. Manatees are friendly and gentle. However, they are protected by Florida law. The law bans any interference with the manatees, including touching, hugging, and harassing.
As for Kreis, he states that he would “absolutely swim with another whale shark.” In the video, the man rides the shark as his family cheers him on. Luckily the stunt did not cause him or the shark any apparent harm.
[Image via Flickr]