Kelly Janse Van Rensburg was in a kayak off South Africa’s coast in April when a great white shark stalked him, grabbed his kayak and harassed him for nearly an hour.
In April Van Rensburg was on his first ever kayak fishing trip when the frightening encounter occurred. He also stated he was only 800 meters off a point when the aggressive great white initially charged his kayak.
The first charge didn’t result in physical contact, but within moments that would change. The shark was also reported to be large; Van Rensburg said it was the length of his boat. It was out of sight only moments before it struck the kayak from behind and below, bit into the hull and spun the craft through the water.
“It pulled me around about 90 degrees and let go. Then it did a figure-of-eight before coming right next to me. I banged it on the head with my paddle. It reacted as if it was getting its back scratched.”
Van Rensburg also said the shark left a ring of teeth marks on the kayak.
It harassed me for about an hour, swimming in circles, and then buggered off. My nerves were wrecked.
Near the end of the encounter, as Van Rensburg attempted to get to shore, he was shocked to see another great white coming in his direction. He reported the first shark was also still in view, so he was sure he was seeing two different sharks. However, he was lucky that predator never got any closer than 150 meters before he reached dry ground and the safety of the beach.
It was also originally reported that when Kelly told his wife of the extremely close call she decided to order him a shark shield. These devices generate an electromagnetic field, which disorients the shark by blocking its sensory organs. This is supposed to actually stop the dangerous fish from approaching when used.
Great white sharks are awesome predators. While they aren’t classified as endangered, they are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Redlist. If kayakers continue to venture into waters inhabited by these creatures, anglers may want to seriously consider devices like the shark shield.
Perhaps this would prevent attacks from happening, while possibly keeping the great white from the threatened species list.