Watch the heart-stopping moment a tiger shark attacks kayak

tiger shark attacks kayak in Hawaii
(Image credit: Hawaii Nearshore Fishing / YouTube)

Normally when someone says of a wildlife-attack video clip, “It also happened so fast,” you prepare yourself a something you can barely make out even with judicious use of freeze frame. Not here, though.

Because kayak angler Scott Haraguchi’s close encounter with a tiger shark in the waters off Hawaii may have seemed all over in a sudden spike of adrenalin for him, but his footage captures the experience with surprising clarity and ferociousness. He wasn’t there to catch sharks but one nearly caught him.

The attack actually happened last year, but Haraguchi – who captured it on a mounted GoPro he was using to document his fishing exploits – has only just posted the full video to YouTube along with a possible explanation for the attack.

“There was a lot of speculation as to why a tiger shark would run full speed into a kayak,” Haraguchi said in an accompanying post on Instagram. “Hopefully this answers all those questions.”

Haraguchi had reeled in a grouper while fishing with a buddy off Kualoa, Oahu. A few minutes later the tiger shark surfaced off Haraguchi’s bow and slammed into his kayak. But Haraguchi hadn’t bled the grouper and doesn’t believe scent was a factor in the shark ramming his kayak.

“The shark approaches the front of there kayak as if to ram it or scare it, instead of eat it,” ponders Haraguchi in a voiceover on the vid. “And as it slides up the side of the kayak he realizes that it’s not tasting a seal or a whale, or something alive.”

In the actual footage, though, it certainly looks like the shark is chowing down on the kayak, so we’ll take Haraguchi’s word for that. He also seems uncertain if he actually kicked the shark away, but you can at least see his foot very close to the shark’s head in the video.

Haraguchi and his companion remained in the area with their feet safely out of the water for several minutes, and eventually they spotted a wounded seal.

“I believe that the shark rammed me thinking that I was competition for its seal kill. What do you guys think?”

Tiger sharks, which can measure up to 20 feet are implicated in the vast majority of shark attacks on humans in Hawaiian waters.