United Kingdom

Man swims with 'basking shark' then panics it may be a Great White

A California man dove into the Pacific Ocean expecting to swim with a basking shark, but quickly panicked when he thought it was a great white shark.

The shocking moment happened last week near the beach city of Encinitas in San Diego County.

Footage shared online shows a shark's fin slicing through the ocean water as a man, identified as Ryder in the video, dives off a boat.

As Ryder resurfaces, the large shark flails about as the group of boys begin to question their decision.

'That was a bad idea!' Ryder calls out to friends who are watching from the boat. 

He begins swimming away from the shark as a friend yells,'Get back on the boat!'

The group appears to be jovial as Ryder yells out, 'Ah! I touched it! Oh f***,' but the mood shifts when the cameraman points his phone at the water.

Footage shared online shows a man, identified as Ryder, diving into the ocean in hopes of swimming with a basking shark near California 

The shark appeared to flail and begin circling after Ryder dove into the water near the fish

Ryder began to quickly swim back to the boat as he and his friends realized the creature could actually be at great white shark

There, a massive shark circles near the boat's edge and the cameraman realizes that it may not be a basking shark, but a great white shark instead.

'Dude that's a gr...' the cameraman trails off, before saying 'that's not a basking shark dude.'

Ryder lets out a few quick screams as he pulls himself out of the water and back onto the boat.

'Famous last words: 'that was a bad idea!' one person wrote.

'I think that the shark was just in shock that someone jumped in and petted him, another person said. 

'Even the shark was like, "Is this dude serious?'' a commenter said. 

A man who took video of the moment panned the camera towards the water and told Ryder, 'that's not a basking shark dude'

Some users applauded the friend for remaining calm and not freaking out Ryder.

'The way he held back from saying, "DUDE THAT'S A GREAT WHITE" to calm the swimmer is legendary,' one user added.

Although basking sharks and great white sharks can often be confused for each other, both species have some differences.

'The dorsal fin of the Great White is a sharply-edged triangle. Comparatively, the dorsal fin of the Basking Shark is a triangle as well, it is slightly rounded at the apex.' according to a post from the Massachusetts' Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Great white sharks (left) and basking sharks (right) are often confused for each other, but have a set of distinct differences 

'Basking Sharks can range from brown to gray to black, are often spotted and uniform in color. The Great White by comparison has two distinct color variants of black or gray on top and white on the bottom. 

'Additionally, Basking Sharks have very large, visible gills that encircle their head, whereas the gills of the Great White aren’t as visible.'

Basking sharks tend to be larger than great whites and survive off of plankton. 

The International Shark Attack File, which records unprovoked shark attacks since 1926, said San Diego County has experienced 19 such incidents.

San Diego County has the highest rate among California coastal cities, including places like Humboldt and Santa Barbara.  

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