As you’ve likely already seen if you’ve pressed play on the video above, a couple weeks ago, pro kiteboarder Alex Soto collided with a shark while practicing for the 2019 Pan Am Games off the coast of the Dominican Republic.
In the footage of the incident, you’ll see Soto While riding a kite hydrofoil (I’m not entirely sure if that differs at all from a hydrofoil surfboard) at what looks like Mach-10 speeds, until suddenly a shark crosses his path and he–along with the super sharp, sword-like mast of his board–crashes into the finned creature and cartwheels violently into the ocean.
According to Soto’s Facebook post the “shark is alive” as he saw it leaving and didn’t hit it in the head. His foil however, was badly damaged.
Other viewers’ comments on the video and the collision were not so positive. “That shark is super dead. Let’s be real,” wrote one person, who likely took note of how fast Soto was flying across the ocean’s surface, and how incredibly sharp and destructive the blade of a hydrofoil would be upon an impact like that. Additional commenters pointed out the threat that hydrofoiling inherently places upon marine animals that live and hunt near the water’s surface. Many of them admitted that this wasn’t the first time they’ve heard of something like this happening.
The incident above may seem like a freak accident, but people have been injured by hydrofoils before, and surely this isn’t the last time something or someone ends up unwittingly at the sharp end of these craft, whether they’re attached to a kite or otherwise.