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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Pete Thomas

Watch: Kayak angler at center of epic battle between shark, seal

A kayak angler on Sunday found himself in the middle of a frenetic battle between a relentless shark and frightened seal off New Zealand’s Eastern Cape.

Greg Potter was so close to the action, which he captured on video, that the shark rammed his 12-foot kayak twice as the seal attempted to use the vessel as cover.

“If it had managed to get me out of the kayak, that that could have been a pretty disastrous ending,” Potter told the New Zealand Herald. “I was dressed in full black. I can only imagine what the shark would have made of my legs thrashing around.”

Potter pedaled his kayak closer after spotting a disturbance in the distance. He soon discovered that he was witnessing a predation attempt by what he described as a young white shark.

“I’ve got a juvenile great white shark chasing a seal out here,” he says in the footage. “It’s unreal.”

The shark seemed unable to immobilize the seal during a chase that lasted more than a minute.

It was not clear if the seal ultimately escaped because Potter smartly pedaled away after the shark began to bump his his kayak.

“When the seal hid under the kayak, the shark came crashing up from underneath and smashed into the bottom of the kayak,” Potter said. “Then they did another few laps around the kayak, and then a second time, the shark again smashed the underside of the kayak.”

As for the shark species, we reached out to California-based white shark expert Chris Lowe and after viewing the footage he doubted it was a white shark.

“There are no black tips on the ventral side of the pectoral fins,” said Lowe, who runs the Shark Lab at California State University Long Beach. “It’s kind of hard to see from the video, but from the frames I stopped I couldn’t see distinct black on ventral side of the pects and the body seems pretty thin.”

Regardless, it was a harrowing encounter for Potter, who had been fishing six miles beyond Waihau Bay.

–Image is a video screen grab

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