Woman hangs on to great white shark for a ride (video)

The full video is an advert for an underwater camera but still, the freediver has some serious nerves of steel. I went into a shark cage off of Gansbaai, South Africa, but never ventured out of it while viewing great white sharks.

Surprisingly enough, the great whites were spooked by the air bubbles from (diving) tanks during the summer season so if you wanted them to come around, you couldn’t use air. I was told that you could only do this in the winter when the seas were calm and clear. The summer water is cold enough, so I can’t even imagine going in during the winter.


There is a local guy there who is well known for freediving with the great whites and he hasn’t had any problems that I know of. As much as I loved seeing the sharks up close, I have to say, I had a pretty strange vibe from some of the operations that ran the tours, and I wouldn’t do it again nor recommend it.

The islands where they take you are full of seals on the surface, which is a favorite food of the sharks. On the ocean floor are abalone, which sells for a premium price in Asia, so there were plenty of stories about illegal poachers working those grounds at night. It’s dangerous work (sharks, not to mention the police), but highly profitable.

blonde great white shark

This freediver is certainly not afraid to get up close and personal with a great white. As cool as it is to watch, I have no plans to try this anytime soon.

And to prove that there are more people with nerves of steel, here’s another freediver (video below) who films the great whites in hopes of improving their image. In all fairness to the great whites, they do have many more reasons to be afraid of humans than humans have to be afraid of them.

Here’s a few screen shots, then the video:




About 3 minutes into the video, one great white makes a run at the cameraman in order to taste his air tank:

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

Share This Post

94 Responses to “Woman hangs on to great white shark for a ride (video)”

  1. Sandra Taramtamtam says:

    OMG this is insane!#
    Here a wallpaper from another white shark http://www.wallpapers2000.com/wallpaper.php?wid=6137

  2. unrepentant_expat says:

    That’s where you would usually find them, take them out of water, they die.

  3. hollywoodstein says:


  4. hollywoodstein says:

    Yes, I didn’t mean to be so negative about wiki. It is a useful tool. I’m old enough though to remember learning more from the books in the stacks beside the book I was looking for. I’ve just run into enough students at schools large and small, who don’t do footnotes and don’t follow the links at the bottom to be grouchy about it.

    And then there was the other poster on here who was telling me about the scientific data on great whites when in another life, (back when I was young, very good looking and ignorant now that’s a combination), I had gutted more whites than he has fingers and toes, even working with a guy at Scripps.

    As for the hope for the movie project thanks for the kind words, that’s the big story. Afraid not enough prayers were said for it and now it is passing from purgatory to the early circles of Hell. In other words, lawyers writing stern letters are getting involved, and worse yet, paid.

    The kernel was actually written in the eighties, fleshed in the nineties, became super relevant in the 00s, attracted mega agent who promptly retired and died. Interested a lot of people looking for edgy content, but Hollywood is always skittish about airing out too much religion and politics, and I was intransigent about cutting scenes, and not a big enough fish to muscle a pass, just because you have to kiss the ring. And then the Sorkin Newsroom clip I posted earlier was a splitting image of a key scene in Act II, so that would have to be reworded, meaning the zeitgeist has caught up. And now after the Benghazi brouhaha and the demographic shift of the election I am afraid it’s moment is passing since even though it was written to be shot quickly and cheaply I am afraid if we started now it would still be a year or more till a release.

    But then more good properties do not get made in Hollywood than do. Or at least that is what people who do not get made say. And I only infrequently cry myself to sleep now over how close we came to the some of that sweet, sweet obvious spin off sit com money.
    But buck up. Be brave. All is not lost. The story does not depend on current events, and I am so familiar with the material that I already see a way to adapt, and keep the worthy. The politics and religion part was mainly a way in to examining how people construct their belief systems to deal with complexity and mortality. That is timeless.

    I always tell students that outside of blockbusters, the digital revolution meant that costs of origination ( not entirely true, but that’s another story), and distribution would be lowered so smaller projects could be targeted to niche audiences, similar to the way porn made billions servicing niche markets, (until that model was eroded by everyone posting their own for free).

    So maybe I’ll take my own advice and make it. Or maybe sell it to someone who will make it and not sit on it or maybe kickstart it.

    We will see.

  5. FatRat says:

    Wiki certainly has its limitations, but can give a good overview It’s best to follow the footnotes to the original sources. Few to no footnotes should raise red flags and rockets. I hope your script manages to escape purgatory.

  6. hollywoodstein says:

    See google doesn’t know everything. yet. If you really know a subject you are always absolutely appalled at the submits at wiki, etc. I experienced a boatload of information about sociobiology, and fx, and great whites that has never made it into a wiki, or google or blog post, which is a shame if that is what your If you ever are comfortable with letting out a little of the FatRat backstory

  7. FatRat says:

    Googled my answers then copied and pasted, your knowledge surpasses mine. Google knows more than both of us, but even Google doesn’t know why I picked FatRat. lol

  8. hollywoodstein says:

    FatRat, you know more than I. We can only wonder why you chose your moniker unless you would like to tell?

  9. hollywoodstein says:

    You are correct.

  10. hollywoodstein says:

    Hmm, there are parts of my life where I wish I had listened to that advice.

  11. hollywoodstein says:

    You are obviously a keyboard commando who thinks ppl like Hartmann know anything about white behavior, and get all creamy over reading of rarer than lightning strike reports of people dying from great white attacks. Read books, journal articles, go to sea, interact with them for decades, then maybe you might have something to say worth listening to.

  12. hollywoodstein says:

    I promise you, you do not want to make that comparison?

  13. hollywoodstein says:

    I’ve known E.O. since the publication of the Synthesis. How many dinner conversations have you had with him? Please do not keep humiliating yourself.

  14. hollywoodstein says:

    Really, how many conversations have you had with E.O.? since publication of The Book. And if you don’t know, then you dont’ know.

  15. FatRat says:

    http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Han_shot_first (the phrase “Han Shot First” is thus misleading, since only Han shoots in the original version). In the special edition, Greedo shoots at Han and misses, without explanation, from point blank range, and then Han shoots him. Later, it was altered again to have Han and Greedo shooting at almost the same time (though Greedo still shoots first), with Greedo still missing from point blank range. With such a short time between each shot, it could be assumed that Han was already planning to shoot Greedo, rather than reacting to Greedo’s shot.

    Damn, you are a font of movie information. You have picked your user name wisely.

  16. hollywoodstein says:

    Really, I’ve known E.O. since Before the Synthesis, and what are your qualifications?

  17. hollywoodstein says:

    Yes, thought so too.

  18. hollywoodstein says:

    I didn’t think so.

  19. hollywoodstein says:

    Wise choice.

  20. hollywoodstein says:

    As long as they make film, I will shoot film. Love the look, love the feel, love the smell. The transition happened too soon.
    All the producers wanted to go digital to show they weren’t old fogies clinging to yesterdays news. Also, the tv strike had an unexpected hand when ppl realized they could get around the film restrictions if they shot digital. That was the death knell no one expected.
    Everyone thought poor Kodak would drop movie film production first, but Fuji beat them to the punch with their announcement. You can now pick up a motion picture film camera on ebay that used to cost more than five houses for a couple grand. I only hope someone somewhere buys the process out and keeps making film.
    I get it. I am not a Luddite. I eant digital to work. But there is a scen in Apocalypse Now of a boat plowing up black water during sunset that current digital cannot come close too.
    But ( Old Man Alert), kidz these daze don’t care that their Ipod is tinny or that they watch Lawrence of Arabia or 2001: A Space Odyssey on their smartphone.

  21. hollywoodstein says:

    I think Martin Hill and/or his friend and great DP Mark made a bundle at auction after they discovered one of their cameras was a principal camera on Star Wars. But the Chaplin camera didn’t sell, I think because the provenance was good, but circumstantial, and that is a small collector market and they agreed not to bid.

  22. hollywoodstein says:

    The cantina bar scene is a good one, but the costume work?, well let’s just say most of the budget went elsewhere because I saw better costumes at Hollyween parties at the time.
    And didn’t Han shoot first? Did they digitally change that as unsporting?

  23. hollywoodstein says:

    Also, too I still have some of the gear used on the Star Wars series. When the shift to mostly all digital happened people were selling stop motion set ups< usually converted Mitchells, that once cost hundreds of thousands of dollars decades ago for less than scrap. Some didn't even sell at all when they should have been in a museum, and were junked.

  24. hollywoodstein says:


  25. FatRat says:

    Bruce is the correct name. Three full-size pneumatically powered prop sharks—which the film crew nicknamed “Bruce” after Spielberg’s lawyer, Bruce Raimer. Spielberg’s bad luck, was highly fortunate. I hope that the “fishing line” models is an urban legend. The Indianapolis scene scared the bejesus out of me.

  26. hollywoodstein says:

    But then Lucas’ original idea for star wars was to swing models on fishing string. Glad he was talked out of that one. But then he was convinced the guy doing the stop motion for him was taking him for a ride.
    It always amazes me how many good movies would have been bad if peoples original preferred plan had gone ahead. In everything from casting to story to technology.
    Lawyer says to add or so I’m told. Or so I’m told.

  27. hollywoodstein says:

    yeah, I liked that one.

  28. hollywoodstein says:

    Oh no, sorry son, you do not want to see whose dick is bigger on this one.

  29. hollywoodstein says:

    Okay, so you don’t know anything about freshman philosophy as evidenced by your conflating the problem of other minds with the mind body problem. And you never addressed any of my points.
    So let us try one.
    What are those sharks thinking when they exhibit predatory attack behavior against those seal shaped, seal colored, seal sized cut outs? By your account we can have no idea. But I think we do have an idea.
    But then I also know when my dog wants to go outside. But then again, I know that at least he has a mind of his own.

  30. hollywoodstein says:

    It is alarming when you’re out on the water, with a great white, but I doubt you’ve ever been.

  31. hollywoodstein says:

    Sociobiological? Do you even know what sociobiology is? Or do you think it just sounds impressive when you misuse the term.

  32. hollywoodstein says:

    Yeah, and I know a kid who lost a finger to an alligator turtle. And someone who was bit by a muskie. If whites wanted to eat us they have hundreds of opportunities every day and they choose not to.

  33. hollywoodstein says:

    And the scene recounting the Indianapolis actually felt a little stage first time I saw it in the theater, but it has grown on me with every viewing, and is now one of my favorite scenes.

  34. hollywoodstein says:

    Spielberg has his career saved by the fact the mechanical shark, Bruce I think they called it, he wanted to feature in the film broke down so much. By showing less shark, and having the terror be in your imagination it made it a better film.
    And of course, lucking out with that amazingly iconic score. Sometimes it all comes together.

  35. dru_down says:

    Perhaps you’d like to give Andre Hartmann credit for your “insight”?

    Oh snap!

  36. dru_down says:

    Spoken like someone with no formal training in sociobiology.

  37. dru_down says:

    “It is so alarming!”

    /s/ Claire Dumphy

  38. dru_down says:

    Incorrect. You forget the abalone divers.

    As an aside, you’re the simpleton that referenced (tsk tsk) territorial response as a “reason” why White sharks attack human beings and swallow their limbs. Makes perfect sense.

  39. dru_down says:

    Conflating the mind/body problem with your inability to speak to what a shark or gerbil thinks is unpersuasive.

  40. dru_down says:

    Have you even seen a White shark a underwater?

    (cricket, cricket)

  41. dru_down says:

    Keep moonwalking back, I enjoy watching you look so ungainly and stiff, like Mr. Yang’s stork.

  42. dru_down says:

    Your assertion that “there is no doubt [mistaken identity] sometimes happens” is a contradiction in terms because it is unknowable. Comparing a cut out seal to an organic human being is equally inapt. “But shark bite the propeller!” Your fabricated statistics are as contrived as your humor.

  43. dru_down says:

    Sorry, statistical infrequency of a known sociobiological phenomena does not disprove anything. Are we prey to Killer Whales? No. Sharks? Duh.

  44. dru_down says:


  45. Naja pallida says:

    Simply put, animals have minds of their own and can sometimes behave in unpredictable ways. Even if you are an expert in their behavior, and are familiar with interacting with them, they always have ways of surprising you. Almost every single major television animal-harassment personality has had close calls with animals despite their knowledge. Steve Irwin is one particular tragic example, but Jeff Corwin almost died to a coral snake. Mark O’Shea almost died to a canebrake rattlesnake, not to mention his idiotic run in with a stiletto snake. Austin Stevens… well, he doesn’t really count I suppose, he intentionally tried to get bit by a cobra. Jack Hanna has been bit and/or chased by everything under the sun. Keepers at Sea World have died, teaching us why they call them killer whales and not fluffy bunny whales. Etc.

    No matter how much you think you know, animals are always happy to humble you.

  46. FatRat says:

    Fantastic line, I’d never heard that it might’ve been unscripted. Some more great dialogue, Mayor Vaughn: Martin, it’s all psychological. You yell barracuda, everybody says, “Huh? What?” You yell shark, we’ve got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July.

  47. hollywoodstein says:

    Good Lord, with that rip in the karmic space time continuum, I better not go back in the bathtub, let alone the sea.

  48. hollywoodstein says:

    Now wouldn’t it be ironic…

  49. hollywoodstein says:

    You’re gonna need a bigger boat. One of the greatest reaction lines ever, supposedly unscripted.

  50. hollywoodstein says:

    Anyone see what I did there with that Skinner pun. Poor Lloyd.

  51. hollywoodstein says:

    Okay, so that one’s a little insider baseball.

  52. hollywoodstein says:

    Hey wait a second, is that you lurker in Colorado?

  53. hollywoodstein says:

    And since you seem to get your science from youtube here is a video clip of your open ocean bereft of food. Enjoy.

  54. hollywoodstein says:

    Though human attacks seem to be on the rise. Whether that’s due to their numbers rebounding, global warming or the increase in boarded water sports nobody knows at this point.
    The alarming thing has been an increase in encounters with kayaks. Most involving mid sized adolescent teenage whites looking for a bite.

  55. hollywoodstein says:

    Okay, so you can grasp the Farallons where there is a concentration of a food source for great whites they congregate and have a hierarchy structure. Now extend that to someplace else they roam nomadically that has a concentrated food source like shoals where salmon are gathering for a run.

  56. hollywoodstein says:

    The fact there are so few human attacks given the prevalence of human white encounters argues against your supposition we are a prey species to them.

  57. hollywoodstein says:

    Okay, so you must be young. I can think of four Farallon attacks off the top of my head. The waters are protected now.

  58. hollywoodstein says:

    the theoretical “groupthink” that (drumroll, please) ever so neatly (and therefore conspicuously) “corroborates” the “mistaken identity” fallacy.
    Gosh, I don’t even know what to make of this one. There is no conspiracy to support the mistaken identity theory. Though there is no doubt it sometimes happens, even the people against it say that. For instance, those black cardboard cutouts towed behind boats that gave us all of those leaping breaches were mistaken by the sharks for actual seals,( but I guessed that’s reading the mind of the shark and that’s not allowed in your Skinnerian black box) so it’s not to much of a stretch to think a finned black wetsuited human on a board silhouetted against the sky can be mistaken as a seal.
    Many a surfer has seen a shark check them out even body rolling slightly to get a better look at just what we are, and their little pea brains are trying to figure out if we are something good to eat.
    Oh, and by the way we are not a normal prey item for great white sharks. If we were the death toll would be outrageous.

  59. hollywoodstein says:

    Your mistake seems to be thinking I am saying what a full grown great white eats, when I have been saying what they prefer to eat, which is fatty marine mammals and fatty fish.

  60. hollywoodstein says:

    Though, I am betting on the dog.

  61. hollywoodstein says:

    Wow, so much and so little time. The first problem you cite is simply the intactable problem of other minds. For instance, it is impossible for any of us to know whether you have one.

  62. dru_down says:

    Say what? You are asking me not to put stock in actual, hard scientific data of what White sharks actually consume…and supplant it with theoretical “groupthink” that (drumroll, please) ever so neatly (and therefore conspicuously) “corroborates” the “mistaken identity” fallacy. Sorry, White sharks do not subsist of tuna and pinnipeds. White sharks literally eat anything including other sharks, rays or what have you.

    “Opportunity makes a thief.” – Francis Bacon

  63. dru_down says:

    You are assuming facts not in evidence and speculating as to what a shark thinks. Neither you (or any other human) is capable of proffering such “testimony” because it is wholly outside the ambit of personal knowledge. What’s next, a dog owner “testifying” that Cujo was “just playing” when it attacked their neighbor? Sorry, one cannot see inside the mind of a pelagic fish, or any other creature.

    While there certainly is a congregation of the largest, most dominant White sharks at the Farallon Islands, I fail to see the nexus between that exception to the rule sharks are nomadic insofar that there are virtually no reported attacks on humans there, i.e., despite the exceedingly high number of White sharks.

    Just this: White sharks know exactly what humans are, exactly what boats are and do not attack out of “mistaken identity”. We have been sharing their ecosystem since time (literally) began for Hominids. Analyzing assertions of dominance is non sequitur insofar that White sharks are consuming humans, e.g., see Lloyd Skinner.

  64. hollywoodstein says:

    Hence the term pelagic. Heck, I’ll eat a turtle fin or a jellyfish, if I’m starving, but if I have a choice I’ll have the toro please.

  65. hollywoodstein says:

    While it is true that great whites are roamers, it is also true that in certain areas, especially where there are pinnipeds or other high quality food source, they seem to set territories with a dominance hierarchy like in the Farallons. On the coast where there is a harbor seal rookery a dominant shark will set up shop and chase others out of his pantry until he has had his fill of pups. This can happen for more temporary periods like when a school of salmon gathers for a run where a river opens to the ocean, a dominant shark will make certain he feeds first for the length of the run.
    There is an energy cost to defending ones place at the table, but the big boys tend to get the best seats and their fill first. Of course, I am using the term territory as the location of a food resource, but then most animal territories are bounded by food resources. Once the food resource is depleted the animals move on to new waters.

  66. dru_down says:

    Ps. White sharks are nomadic by nature and do not, as you seem to believe, hold down a “territory”.

  67. dru_down says:

    “The best thing on the menu” in the open ocean is often whatever is available, e.g., youtube search “shark takes woman’s leg”

  68. hollywoodstein says:

    It is true that a hungry white will eat whatever is in the fridge. I remember when we used to fry grunion on the beach in a kettle of oil, with vinegar or wasabi aioli and wash it down with beer. You could see the baby whites just meters offshore plowing through the run. And people were out there frolicking in the water in the moonlight.
    So juvie whites eat whatever they can catch, rays, crustaceans, squid, etc. until they grow enough to graduate from the benthic trash to the tastier, but faster pelagic fatty tuna, oily mackerel, oily salmonids.

    However, It’s been my experience that a fully mature white ( I’m most familiar with Pacifics) capable of dominating a territory, vastly prefers eating pinnipeds, ( sea lions harbor seals, and elephant seals). The only food they seem to prefer to this buffet
    is dead whale blubber which they will eat until they can hardly swim. It’s simply an energy vs. effort equation.
    Why eat the crap when you can have the best thing on the menu? Perhaps there is newer science on this, but that has been my experience.

    And I wouldn’t put too much stock in some of those studies showing generalist stomach contents since many include older, dead, injured, and stranded whites so there is some concern that their contents may reflect being out of condition, rather than a normal diet.

    That is why I don’t worry about the biggest healthiest white. She got to be big because she is a cagey, efficient predator, and is unlikely to risk losing an eye trying out a newfangled snack. I’m worried about the wandering adolescent, who keeps getting shoved around, is constantly hungry, and thinks he’ll just try a bite to see if that seal looking thing is a seal. Or the old warrior, in his last month, who lost his territory, is injured, hungry, and can’t catch what he used to catch so he’ll take a chance on that slow seal blowing big bubbles cause he can’t stand the taste of Humboldt squid. They are out there every day.

  69. dru_down says:

    That’s not true at all. White sharks are generalist feeders and a cursory review of their stomach contents reveals that the alleged “pinniped only”dietary habits of adult White sharks is greatly exaggerated- particularly when out in the open ocean where resources are scarce. White sharks occupy the same ecological niche as Tiger sharks.

  70. dru_down says:

    Is that so? While I would be the first to admit that free diving with White sharks (indeed, any pelagic shark) is unequivocally “safest” under such baited conditions, it is disingenuous to imply there is a means for mere “knowledge” of any man-eating creature’s behavioral propensities to eliminate the possibility of an unpredictable response. Moreover, it is misguided to ascribe Steve Irwin’s death- or Tim Treadwell’s death- to being “unlucky” if the “risk” is that a wild animal that has always been known to attack and consume us…does just that. It is just further evidentiary data of the phenomena, i.e., humans are prey. As such, putting oneself in the proximity of these apex predators is admittedly exhilarating, but come on. Nobody is ever in “control” and Dr. Ritter’s demise is instructive on the fallacy of the dogma that the swimmer here clings to, no unlike the shadowy form passing by.

  71. SkippyFlipjack says:

    these videos really bring me back.. to having total shark nightmares as a kid. jeez.

  72. hollywoodstein says:

    Also too, the sharks, even whites, especially whites, don’t want to go after non seal prey.

  73. hollywoodstein says:

    Sorry, didn’t mean to drop out, The biggest tell is the shark you don’t see coming out of nowhere, that’s the baddy, white, bull, tiger, even hammerhead. After that it is the pecs for the whites as an old salt will tell you,, they’ll let you know, especially when they are feeling competitive with another white, they’ll hike their pecs and take a bite at your metallurgic tank or worse, just to be first. Otherwise they are big scaredy cats they don’t want to lose an eye.

  74. If you’re still in the comments, what do you mean – what exactly did you see in the video, and where, that showed the sharks were being pretty aggressive? Just curious.

  75. Buford says:

    Not so much. She is educated on the behavior of these animals. Steve Irwin was just unlucky. As far as who is actually ‘stupid’, I’ll just leave that one alone…

  76. citizen_spot says:

    Yup, it’s all good……until it isn’t. I have read that sharks don’t like the way we taste, but after they take a bite and spit you out, there is not much you can do at that point. Seeing as Go Pro encourages risk taking in their advertising, I am surprised they haven’t been sued into bankruptcy.

  77. citizen_spot says:

    I thought her name was Bindy.

  78. hollywoodstein says:

    Oh, oh yes he did.

  79. Yeah that was a great film too.

  80. hollywoodstein says:

    oh no he didn’t?

  81. hollywoodstein says:

    go atm.

  82. hollywoodstein says:

    go stage mom. go mindy.

  83. hollywoodstein says:

    Roll dice. one six. Roll dice, one five. Roll dice, box cars. Roll dice, two four. Roll dice, snake eyes.

  84. hollywoodstein says:

    And the Steve Irwin cult of personality of fucking with dangerous animals that just wanted to be left alone all in the name of false reality teevee conservation mate was the biggest con pulled over on a Sheila since Mutual of Omaha had Jim romance a rhino into the jeep for Marlon.
    A little more real Attenborough style science and a little less that venomous snake almost punctured me would have kept a couple thousand kids out of the emergency room. But ratings, and he;s an Australian hero whose number came up.

  85. hollywoodstein says:

    The air bubbles in the other video may have kept those idiots alive, since the whites were being a bit more aggressive at times.

  86. hollywoodstein says:

    Gopro chick has ovaries of steel, but the pectoral fins tell you they think she’s an overgrown remora.

  87. hollywoodstein says:

    It’s the shark you don’t see.

  88. JIm says:

    She is not brave. She is lucky and she is stupid.

    Never forget what happened to Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter.

    Arrogance in the face of wild animals often has lethal consequences.

  89. karmanot says:

    Didn’t he make a fantastic fly?

  90. Lol I loved him in that movie :-)

  91. BeccaM says:

    I also imagine this only works when the sharks aren’t hungry. That crazy free-diving woman is about the same size and roughly similar in shape to a yummy, slow-moving seal.

  92. pappyvet says:

    “Ooh ! Ahh ! Thats how all of this starts but later there’s the running and the screaming.” Jeff Goldblum[jurassic park 2]

  93. nicho says:

    Sharks are like corporations. If it’s in their best interest to leave you alone, they will leave you alone, if it’s in their best interest to eat you, they will eat you. It’s not a moral decision on their part.

© 2019 AMERICAblog Media, LLC. All rights reserved. · Entries RSS