Freedivers Swim With Some Pretty Chill Sharks

Watch as these freedivers become friends and hang out with a few scary-looking sharks.
A swimmer and a shark
Beci Ryan freedives with a blue shark © Daan Verhoeven
By Corinna Halloran

Perhaps the infamous Jaws was just looking for cool people to hang out with — much like these blue sharks. It certainly would turn the billion-dollar blockbuster on its head. But not all sharks are as vicious as the movie's 23-foot man-eating shark.

That’s exactly what filmmaker Daan Verhoeven and freediver Beci Ryan wanted to show when they went freediving off the coast of Cornwall with blue sharks. Cornwall is Great Britain’s southwest peninsula and one of the only places in the world where you can swim with blue sharks without a cage.

"I wanted to go against the stereotype of portraying sharks as dangerous," Verhoeven said. "I wanted to show their beauty and how you can swim with them without danger in their own environment."

Watch the video below:

Blue sharks enjoy cold water and squid — not humans. In fact, as you can see from Verhoeven’s cool and calm video, they’re nothing like Jaws — not even a distant cousin. Unlike Jaws who snacked on five people and one dog in just 124 minutes of film, blue sharks have only fatally bitten four humans … in 433 years. Nonetheless, Jaws’ "hangry" behavior has had larger implications — implications Verhoeven is trying to change.

"Sharks are under threat worldwide, as bycatching and actively hunted for their fins," Verhoeven said. "I think part of the reason there’s not much public outcry over this is because they are seen as terrifying man killers. That image is unjust and I want to help change that."

Even though blue sharks are not after your toes (or neck) there is a thrilling element to swimming with them — after all, they are wild animals and you are in their environment.

"When diving with them, we stayed mainly on the surface to let the sharks come to us. They sometimes got a bit spooked if we tried to dive with them. But we did manage to also swim with them at few feet of depth, which was both really thrilling and very chilled."

Verhoeven is no stranger to stunning freediving imagery — whether it’s documenting a rare sand waterfall or Stig Pryds's freedive in the world's deepest blue hole, you can expect nothing but eye-popping footage from the filmmaker.

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