25 March, 2013 25 March, 2013

Great White Shoves Head Through Shark Diving Cage in Gans Baai

A standard Gansbaai shark cage diving trip turned into a scary moment when a great white shoved its head through the bars of the cage and thrashed about while the diver inside ducked for cover.


  1. Craigo
    25 March, 2013 at 9:26 am · Reply

    When you’re in their domain, cage or no cage, don’t go crying to Daddy if you get chomped.
    The law of averages will eventually show a whitey will smash a cage and eat the contents……. burp!

    25 March, 2013 at 10:09 am · Reply

    The shark should have fucked him up! This is the reason why sharks attack more often because these assholes chum the water to attract them!!! Motherfuckers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. PissedKaapieSurfer
    25 March, 2013 at 10:27 am · Reply

    I don’t care what the operators or experts say on the matter, we are definitely messing with these sharks and along the way changing thousands of years of normal shark behaviour.
    Why is it that the Great White Shark is the ONLY creature (that I know of) that is allowed to be officially baited and antagonised for money in the wild? If the practice or chumming animals and then hiding in a cage is that kosher then why doesn’t Sanparks give out permits so we can do this to lions in the Kruger for example and make billions from tourists?
    Look at how the baboons have learnt so FAST and changed their opportunistic behaviour due to influx of tourists on the Cape Peninsula who are caught unaware on a daily basis! Were baboons able to open car doors pre-1994? Did they seek out humans for mugging pre-1994? I don’t think so or atleast not at the rate we see today, but the increase of tourists has helped the baboons to find easy food and this has changed their behaviour, in my humble opinion.
    I am not kaking/hating on tourists but it is just a good example of animals learning from human interaction.

    • no more chumming
      25 March, 2013 at 12:35 pm · Reply

      Well said!!!Great whites are prehistoric creatures that are super intelligent, with out a doubt they are adapting, you can clearly see the shark completely ignore the bait and go directly for the cadged human! This shit has to stop, its crazy!!! how many more attacks until something is done.

    • M.
      2 April, 2013 at 12:14 pm · Reply

      it’s to stupid for words. Do we like to be teased with food that way.NO…so stop this sightseeing of horror.

  4. Aaron
    26 March, 2013 at 1:14 pm · Reply

    Surfers are paying with their lives for these idiots to have a laugh on their holiday! Stop chumming and get out of our waters assholes!

    • Victoria
      28 March, 2013 at 7:25 am · Reply

      you are paying with your lives as you too are going into the sharks natural habitat. What makes the waters your waters, as you quote ‘our waters’, just because you surf does that make you entitled to the waters? I saw a comment on this video clip that said ‘you cant go into their territory and expect not to get bitten’. The same can be said for surfers. I am not on either side of this debate and I came hear to read each persons side, and to make my own opinion.

  5. Elasmo-Biologist
    27 March, 2013 at 11:53 am · Reply

    A lot of people think that the shark in this clip was attacking the people in the cage when in reality I sincerely doubt the shark even knew the people were there. The shark in question was a small shark and this was likely it’s first encounter with a cage diving boat, and being a curious animal by nature decided to investigate. Unfortunately it got a little too close to the cage it’s head got stuck in the bars and it panicked (kind of like when a kid gets its head stuck between stair banisters). It’s not the sharks fault and it’s not the cage diving industry’s fault. It was just a freak accident. Rest assured that in response to this incident, measures are being taken to insure this never happens again.

    As far as cage diving changing the sharks’ behaviors goes, it is incredibly unlikely that long term modification to their behavior is being done. These sharks stay in the area for an average of 4 weeks. Under ideal conditions where all variables are controlled it takes much longer for an animal to learn a new behavior. I trained southern stingrays (a cousin of the great white) in an aquarium to learn a simple behavior to associate a light with a reward. The fastest animal to learn the behavior took 8 weeks and the others learned in 10+ weeks. Therefore it is highly implausible that we are changing millions of years of evolutionary behavior in 4 weeks. The reason why the baboons learn so fast is that their brain is larger and more developed than a white shark’s brain. Also, they are residential and therefore have constant contact with the people who are responsible for changing their behavior.

    I just want to leave you guys with one more tidbit of information. In the 14 years before the cage diving industry began there were 30 white shark bites were recorded while in the 14 years after the cage diving industry was implemented 32 white shark bites were recorded. An increase in two bites in 14 years is hardly proof to say that sharks are learning to target people as a new prey source, especially considering that in the past 28 years there have been an increase in beach goers as well as surfers with better wet suits. All of which would increase the probability of a person encountering a white shark, and should, on their own, lead to an increase in shark bites. So while there may have been an increase in recorded shark bites since record keeping first started, there are a plethora of other (more likely) explanations to the increase in encounters besides shark cage diving.

    • PissedKaapieSurfer
      27 March, 2013 at 2:43 pm · Reply

      You make some very good points here and are obviously well educated on the matter.

      What other predators can we then use to provide entertainment to tourists and make more money for ourselves? I hear Sanparks are in BIG financial trouble and if we are not messing with nature then lets roll out more permits for this kind of experience with Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Rhinos, Hippos, Crocodiles (wild & not the ones in Oudtshoorn), Tiger sharks, Wild dogs, Hyenas, etc, etc.
      I understand your comment about the sharks swimming around so we can just relocate the various operations every 4 weeks to avoid the same animals … in theory 🙂
      Surely Cage diving has a great 20 year blueprint for the above with income generations and “no” increase in attacks?
      Surely some of the above animals are ripe for cage viewing?

      Once again this is just my average surfer Joe humble opinion.

      • Elasmo-Biologist
        27 March, 2013 at 4:17 pm · Reply

        You do bring up some very good concerns about the issue of interacting with the animals, however I can assure you that there is tight legislation that we follow very strictly that governs where we can chum, what we can use as chum and how many boats are allowed to use chum to attract sharks to their boats. This legislation also clearly states that we are not allowed to intentionally reward the sharks by letting them get the bait (which is just tuna heads tied to the end of a rope). That being said, since we are only allowed to operate in certain areas we remain stationary while the sharks cycle in and out of the areas. It is not in theory that the sharks only spend a limited amount of time here either. Michael Scholl has been conducting a longitudinal study documenting the dorsal fins of the sharks that pass through the area as a means of identifying individuals. He started this in the late 90’s and has successfully identified and re-identified over 1,000 sharks. These data say that the average time that a shark spends here is around 4 weeks before moving on. There is also another white shark by the name of Nicole who was fitted with a satellite tag that showed her swimming from South Africa to Australia in 90 days and spending 6 months swimming all along the coast of Australia. It is a known fact that these sharks are nomadic and will not remain in one area for long.

        Please keep in mind that this is in no way condoning that we branch this out to other aspects of wildlife viewing, and if there was another way to view these animals (either for commercial or scientific purposes) then we would be doing it. The fact of the matter, though, is that since these are nomadic animals and we cannot simply launch our boat and hope to see an animal. The animals in the wildlife preserves will stay there, so the tour guides have an idea general area in which to find the animals. And since those are land based tours the clients have crystal clear visibility and can see the animal at a great distance and thus there is no need to bait the animals to come out. Whereas with cage diving the water visibility is highly variable and most of the time doesn’t get beyond a couple meters. Therefore we can have a shark around the boat but wouldn’t see it without the aid of the tuna heads on the rope. This is currently the best method of allowing people to experience these animals in the wild. For the other animals that you have listed above there must be carefully considered methods for viewing those animals based on their habitat, travel habits, temperament and a whole host of other things. Though, I am curious as to how you would chum for elephants.

        I’m not sure why you’re so quick to point the finger at cage diving for any unfortunate encounter someone has with a white shark. I’ve mentioned before several other more probable reasons for these encounters. Put simply if more people spend more time in the water at the beach in the sharks’ natural habitat there is a greater chance that paths will cross and sometimes people may get injured. It’s a fact of life, but there are data demonstrating that no conditioning is occurring from cage dive operators.

        While we are on the water, we may get some sharks that will try to get the bait, but many of them are just curious about the boat and will completely ignore the bait. In fact, when a white shark is around the boat it doesn’t even register that there are humans inside the cage. To the shark the boat, the cage and the people inside the cage are all just one big strange object in its world. So if we really were training the sharks to associate something with food it would be similar boats to the ones that are chumming.Theoretically, then, they would approach all similar boats that they encounter in their lifetime expecting a free meal, and yet there’s not more than a couple isolated incidents of a white shark approaching a vessel that isn’t chumming. Even then they were probably just investigating a foreign object and not looking for food.

        I just want to make clear that our primary goal with cage diving is to educate the people that go with us by showing them the true nature of white sharks, and to change the perception that Jaws has created. White sharks are nothing like how Spielberg portrays them to be. It is very important that we change peoples’ perceptions of these sharks before it’s too late. There are only a couple thousand white sharks left in the world, and if people don’t start fighting to protect these sharks they will become extinct very soon. We are just trying to do our part to bring awareness to the plight of the white shark.

  6. JonesyPE
    4 April, 2013 at 11:14 am · Reply

    Cage diving = Dumb ass money grabbers who can’t crack a real job……..and as for the people that need to cage dive =go take a crank in the bathroom rather!!!!

    Sharks have not survived millions of years to not adapt to their surroundings =fact

  7. Betterwetsuits
    9 April, 2013 at 4:05 pm · Reply

    Shark Lady’s comments reeks of the typical regurgitated and politically correct responses that watersports enthusiasts, particularly surfers have been subjected to since shark cage diving has become an economic force and international tourist drawcard. In addition, certain so-called shark scientists are suspiciously hasty to dismiss any comments from long term ocean users as purely anecdotal, emotionally charged and lacking any scientific merit. At no point, have these experts spoken out about sharkcage diving’s often highly dubious methods of interacting with Great White Sharks. This obvious reluctance on their part to take a moral stand based on common sense reeks of double standards and ethical conundrums. At what point is it OK to subject a fish to unnecessary abuse in the name of tourism and dare I add, Shark research (Ocearch) while it’s glaringly obvious that these practices would never be condoned on dry land. Dare I say that tremendous amounts of money, and perhaps grants are at stake, so it’s best not to rock the boat or rattle the cage too much. Personally, I’m sick to death of being carpet bombed with stats and endless platitudes. It’s clearly evident money trumps common sense at every turn until yet another surfer or water user is attacked, following which we’ll hear the same old story from the same old mouths! I’ve been dangling my legs in False Bay for over 30 years and no amount of stats or “better wetsuits” theories can deny that something is seriously amiss…

  8. ScientistSurfer
    24 April, 2013 at 12:50 pm · Reply

    I see the merits in both arguments, however you can’t argue scientific research with emotional fits of rage. I find it very interesting that the has been no significant increase in shark attacks since the inception of the cage diving industry, but the data shows this to be true. SharkLady puts forward a concise, logical argument and is clearly very well informed concerning the current shark research that is being undertaken. As a surfer I worry too about being munched by a Great White but if long-term research shows that cage diving is not influencing the behavior of the sharks then that is good enough for me. Maybe I just value rationality, but that is my opinion

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