Amazing video of man riding a whale shark. Teen Hitches A Ride On A Whale Shark. Teen rides on back of whale shark. Riding a whale shark! Riding a whale shark! Fort Myers teen has a 'whale' of a tale to tell. Imagine fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and coming face to face with a 30-foot, 50,000 pound whale shark. Now imagine jumping ship, grabbing its fin and riding it.
Nineteen-year-old Chris Kreis of Fort Myers was fishing 30 miles off the Captiva's coast last Saturday when he encountered the world's largest fish species.
"It's massive, it's the size of the boat" Kreis said of the gentle giant.
Kreis jumped in, grabbed the fin and rode the fish for about twenty seconds. He posted a video of it to YouTube.
"When I started holding on I felt the whale shark it started moving itself, it felt the drag and it didn't really want me on there so I let go and that's it," Kreis described the ride,
Whale sharks are not an endangered or protected species. Riding them is not illegal, but marine biologist Bruce Neill says doing so can be harmful to both the fish and humans.
"When people spend a lot of time and pressure on a fish it takes away a slime that covers the fish. They need that layer to stay healthy. Losing it potentially has negative health impacts for the fish" Neill said.
Furthermore, Neill says even though the fish only feeds on plankton they can still hurt a person, "because they are so very large they could inflict some harm inadvertently."
Kreis had the ride of a lifetime and says he didn't know of the health impact human interaction can cause.
"I would jump in if I saw one again, but next time I wouldn't touch the fish" Kreis said.
The fish was not harmed during the encounter. Experts recommend reporting GPS coordinates of whale shark sighting as scientists continue to track their migration patterns.