Salt water-based recreation used to be restricted to surfers or boaties/yachties.

Now, there are multitudes of kayaks and canoes out on the water, along with Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boards.

The Hawke's Bay pair who got a fright from a great white shark at the weekend were in kayaks - about as close to the water as a fisher can get without getting wet.

A great white shark nosing your kayak, to decide whether to eat you, would be quite an experience. A 35cm snapper or kahawai can turn the nose of a kayak, let alone a great white.


The Westshore great white was 3.5m long. Big enough to be scary. Smaller sharks can also be terrifying.

I abandoned kayak fishing after flipping an anchored "yak" shortly after an encounter with a small bronze whaler.

I went home, told my wife and she said "For goodness sake, buy a boat" or words to that effect. I bought a small boat and haven't paddled a kayak since.

Not everyone is scared of what lies beneath - Andrew Brough was bitten by a great white last Friday while surfing in Northland, and can't wait to get back in the water.

The photos of his injuries and the tooth embedded in his surfboard have gone global.

Is there less food in the ocean, forcing great whites to turn to us? Or are there more great whites?

Or perhaps more of us are in the water, and we hear about encounters more often.

It wasn't that long ago that the only movie that existed about great whites was Jaws.


The advent of social media ended that.

And there are more people taking to the water in kayaks, stand up paddleboards and the like.

The chances of an encounter have increased, and our appetite for shark stories and video/pictures is insatiable.

We should continue to learn to respect this apex predator, hopefully it is not going away.

And hopefully there is still some respect left for scaredy cats like me, who have chosen to not go back in the water, in a kayak at least.