A chunk of yellow plastic was all that lay between a fisherman and a tiger shark when they met in dramatic circumstances - and all captured on video - off a Hawaiian island.
Scott Haraguchi was fishing from his kayak on Friday more than 1.6km offshore from Kualoa, on Oahu’s windward side, when the shark barrelled into the vessel, its jaws sliding along its left side as the stunned occupant yelled to his fishing companion.
Haraguchi, his left foot dangling in the water and his GoPro switched on, heard a “whooshing sound” that resembled a boat moving with its motor switched off, he told CNN.
“I looked up and I saw this big brown thing. My brain thought it was a turtle but then I got slammed by it and realised that it was a tiger shark.”
His GoPro, still on after Haraguchi caught a fish earlier, captured the stunned fisher’s reaction.
“Argh, tiger shark,” he yelled to a companion nearby.
“Tiger shark rammed me.”
He was able to kick the shark away from his kayak and keep fishing, albeit running on adrenaline, he told CNN.
It wasn’t until he returned home and watched the footage that the magnitude of what had happened hit him.
He believed the shark may have mistaken his kayak for a wounded seal he spotted soon after, and was counting his blessings, CNN reported.
“I realise that life is short, time is short on Earth, so make the most of it.”
A 6m shark was spotted nearby the following day, prompting authorities to close a beach.
It’s not the first time the hunter has become the hunted while fishing from a kayak.
In January 2021, a Bay of Plenty man livebaiting for kingfish from his 4m kayak in Bowentown Harbour instead hooked a great white shark.
After his kayak was towed at least 2km, Mike - who didn’t want to give his surname - used the vessel’s pedal drive to reach his catch.
“I got some of my line back and I was thinking, ‘I should see some colour soon’. Then out of nowhere this thing just came at me and had a go at the kayak.
“It looked at me, I looked at it and I thought ‘Oh s***’. I’d given this guy a hard time. He was angry.”
After Mike cut his fishing line the shark swam away, but the 60-year-old later discovered bite marks in the keel and the top of his kayak - as well as three teeth shards embedded in the vessel.
Department of Conservation marine scientist Clinton Duffy later confirmed the fragments belonged to a great white.
Great whites - mostly juveniles - have been reported fairly regularly around Bowentown channel and harbour for the past four or five years, Duffy said at the time.
Shark scientist Dr Riley Elliot last year began a research project to track and satellite-tag 20 great whites, allowing people to see where the creatures are travelling live on the “Great White App”, including in the Bowentown area.
The incident involving Mike occurred three days before Kaelah Marlow, 19, was killed by a shark while swimming at nearby Waihī Beach. Her death came almost eight years after swimmer Adam Strange, 47, was killed in an attack involving several sharks at Muriwai Beach in West Auckland.
And in 2009, Waikato man Maurice Philips was mauled by a great white shark after he fell from a kayak on a fishing trip near Clark Island, Coromandel Peninsula.
However, a coroner wasn’t able to determine if the 24-year-old from Ngāruawāhia was attacked by the shark before or after he drowned.
Over the past 170 years, 13 people have lost their lives in shark attacks across New Zealand.
While around 66 shark species have been identified living in our surrounding seas, there are around a dozen that fishers and swimmers will regularly come across - with the warmer water-preferring tiger shark not among them.
Only a handful of sharks that frequent our waters, such as the great white, mako and hammerhead, pose a threat to human life.
Sharks are in most of the waters around New Zealand and are drawn to harbours to feed, Duffy said in 2021.
“They’ve always been there. We just forget.”
The shark that bit Mike’s kayak was behaving defensively, he said.
“Given it was hooked, it saw the kayak as a threat.”
People should be aware of the risks posed by fishing from smaller, less stable vessels, the marine scientist said.
“Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to fish from kayaks or jet skis - certainly not berleying from them.”