A recent clip of a close encounter with a great white shark is being touted as a "terrifying moment" experienced during a "swim in predator-infested waters," but the videographer who filmed it explains the event was nothing of the sort. 

According to initial reports, wildlife photographer Anthony Kobrowisky happened upon the shark during a swim off the coast of Gansbaai, South Africa. The YouTube description explains that Kobrowisky was able to keep a safe distance while swimming with the animal by filming it with a GoPro on the end of a camera pole. Freediving with white sharks is illegal in these waters, so we reached out to Kobrowisky to find out more. 

"That information is completely wrong," he told us via email. 

Other viral media platforms have also shared the story, and it's gotten a bit more sensational with each report. What really happened is far less dramatic.

Kobrowisky is the Managing Director of Sea Candy Media, a company that offers photography and dive tours – including great white cage dives – off the coast of South Africa. This encounter was filmed from his charter vessel. 

"We had this particular shark in the bay for weeks," Kobrowisky explains. "The footage was captured from the boat, using a GoPro attached to a very long camera pole. Most of my filming work with white sharks is done [in this way], because of the ban on freediving with them."

In fact, the hang-bait (a tuna head) used to draw the shark near is clearly visible in the right side of the frame. Hang-bait is pulled away as a shark approaches, which initiates a hunting response from the predator. The animal in Kobrowisky's footage isn't vying for a bite of human flesh, it's simply going after what it perceives to be easy piscine prey.  

Image: Anthony Kobrowisky/Caters News, screen grab from YouTube
Image: Anthony Kobrowisky/Caters News, screen grab from YouTube

Take another look:

Image: Anthony Kobrowisky/Caters News

While some reports claim that this is the closest Kobrowisky has managed to get his camera to a white shark, the videographer's Instagram page hosts dozens of similar clips. Kobrowisky is currently working as a cameraman with White Shark Diving Company, and hopes that their guests are left with respect – not fear – for these impressive animals.

"The most important thing we are trying to educate [the public on,] is that white sharks are at great risk," he says.



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