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Florida Teen Hitches Ride on 30-Foot Whale Shark

gulf of mexico boogie board captured on video health impacts

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#1 Hum

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 14:45

A Florida teen didn't hesitate to hitch a ride on a 30-foot-long, 50,000-pound whale shark in the Gulf of Mexico when it swam past his boat.

The whale shark was cruising off the coast of Florida last week when Chris Kreis, 19, and his family spotted the shark in the ocean. But to Kreis, it looked like the world's biggest boogie board. Kreis jumped off the back of a boat and latched onto the dorsal fin.

"I decided, you know what, maybe I should go try and swim with him. I might not be able to do it ever again," Kreis said.

Kreis' joy ride on the fish off Captiva's coast was short-lived and ended after only nine seconds, which was captured on video Saturday.

"He began to descend, and if something doesn't want you on it, you might as well just let it go," he said.

Despite its name, whale sharks are considered the gentle giants of the sea and are about the size of a school bus. They hold the distinction of being the ocean's largest fish and feed mostly on plankton.

Kreis' stunt has led to a boatload of scrutiny by some critics because the human contact can potentially harm whale sharks.

"When people spend a lot of time and a lot of pressure on a fish, it takes away that slime covering and potentially has negative health impacts for the fish," marine biologist Bruce Neill said.

These kinds of interactions between man and sea creature have increased recently, raising questions about how much humans should be allowed to encroach.

Riding whale sharks is not illegal and Kreis says he would do it all over again if given the opportunity.

"I would absolutely swim with another whale shark," he said.

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#2 moloko

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 15:47

Watched the video. I think it is pretty cool. 



#3 Growled

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 16:00

That is cool.

 

 This seems a bit over blown to me: 

 

 


Kreis' stunt has led to a boatload of scrutiny by some critics because the human contact can potentially harm whale sharks.
 


#4 Geoffrey B.

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 16:10

I know that whale sharks pose very little threat to humans however, i would have never jumped into water like that,then again i have a fear of deep water.



#5 Xerino

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 17:45

This should say it all....

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#6 Tuishimi

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 17:53

 

 

When people spend a lot of time and a lot of pressure on a fish, it takes away that slime covering and potentially has negative health impacts for the fish

 

Oh come on.  I've kept aquariums for (WOW, just did the calculation in my head) 37 years.  Anyone knows that a fish's slime coating protects it.  But wow, my Arowana has gone for excursions across my living room floor, had the slime completely wiped off trying to catch him again (in a towel), and he's fine... except for a missing scale or two that later grew back.  A kid on the back of a whale shark is barely going to wipe the slime off...  at least he said "potentially" and not "definitely will, demon child!"



 



#7 +techbeck

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 17:55

Wonder if there are any laws about messing with the wildlife.  Some places prohibit things like this.



#8 The Dingus Diddler

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 18:09

Loving the comments on the article!

 

 

 

I have jumped on a few whales myself... then kicked myself the next morning...


#9 Growled

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 18:10

Wonder if there are any laws about messing with the wildlife.  Some places prohibit things like this.

 

If there ain't, there probably will be now. 



#10 +techbeck

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 18:18

If there ain't, there probably will be now. 

They are a protected species in several countries.  Wouldnt be surprised to see this guy get fined.



#11 Earthworm Jimmy

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 20:48

video is not available..  but i seriously doubt he harmed the fish.

 

i would love to try that.



#12 OP Hum

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 23:32

I'd prefer a dolphin. :p



#13 Stoffel

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 23:42

Here in Honduras we have strict rules for swimming with whalesharks.

Gently slide in the water

No loud noises or splashing

No flash photography

Stay 3m/10ft away from head and body

Stay 4m/13ft away from the tail

Absolute no touching

 

When you see these sharks near the surface they are usually feeding so if you want to look at them, just give them some space

You get a better and longer interaction.

 

This kid had 9 seconds, we get 10-15 minute encounters if we do it right.

Longest one my girlfriend ever had was 55 minutes

 

This guy was an idiot!