ride along

Mark Healy rides Great White sharks:
After being face to face with one are you more comfortable surfing in sharky areas?
That’s the funny thing. After spending all that time with the sharks, I don’t necessarily feel any better about surfing. And that’s the thing I realized through interacting with them, that they were a lot more intelligent than I expected, and with intelligence comes extra curiosity. You can tell they probably get bored. A couple of them just loved to hang out. They’re bored and had nothing else to do. I was always trying to really approach them well and get away from them seamlessly without spooking them or freaking them out, and a couple of times, I realized I was a little rough or my approach was shitty and I could see him following me with his eye. But then he’d come right back around and offer his dorsal fin to me. It was weird.

So you decided to grab on and ride it… 
I rode three different sharks 12 or 15 times. But the thing is, they don’t like everybody. That’s the weird thing. The nicest sharks would kind of get pissed at some other people. Sometimes we’d let go of these fin rides at like 60 feet. And you have to swim up. That’s when other ones that are less dominant come in and you could tell which ones were going to be punchy. And a lot of the times they have a lot of scars.

So the younger ones are more aggressive and want to assert themselves?
Exactly. Those younger ones seem to be willing to take more chances because they’re last in the pecking order. So I would imagine that they’d be more likely to hit a silhouette. And they would fully try to set you up and hunt you. Like Jurassic Park with the raptors—they fully try to set you up. They’re so smart.

Did you pee in your wetsuit?
Oh yeah, I peed all day in that wetsuit.
Full interview here.

Photo: Team Effort Films