Sometimes, a lucky day on the water means big catches. Sometimes, it just means staying alive.
That's what one kayak fisherman off the coast of Oahu learned this past weekend as a tiger shark came out of nowhere and charged his kayak, taking a big chomp on—luckily—just his fishing kayak, before changing its mind and slinking back into the water.
The incident was captured on the unnamed angler's GoPro and posted on YouTube by Hawaii Nearshore Fishing. In the video caption, they explain they were fishing barely 2 miles off the shore of Oahu in water about 55 feet deep. Around noon, they heard a "whooshing" sound and looked up to see a wide, brown animal gliding quickly through the water toward their kayak. The poster said they thought it was a turtle at first, but it becomes clear very quickly it's a notably more dangerous aquatic animal—one who easily and happily would've taken a human fisherman under for lunch.
Luckily, the tiger shark gets a solid chomp in on the side of the fishing kayak before retreating.
Tiger sharks are not picky eaters and are a voracious predator known to eat all kinds of marine prey as well as some marine birds and mammals. They've also been known to attack people. And, because they're so undiscerning about what they eat, they aren't as likely to swim away after realizing it's a human, like great white sharks often will.
While we don't know exactly what prompted the tiger shark to attack the boat, the footage shows that right before the attack the fisherman's foot was dangling off the side of the kayak, likely taunting the undiscerning tiger shark that there was something edible on the surface. We can assume that when it only tasted plastic, it retreated.
No doubt the kayaker is very lucky he pulled his foot out of the water right before the tiger shark struck—or that initial bite into flesh likely would've ended very differently than a quick retreat.