Walter Szulc’s first experience in a kayak was enough to deter even the bravest as his quiet maiden voyage in the one-man canoe resulted in him being stalked by one of the sea’s most dangerous predators.
Shocked beachgoers on Nauset Beach near Cape Cod were lining the beach screaming “shark, shark” to attempt to warn Walter Szulc – but he failed to hear them.
The great white shark was estimated at 12-14 ft and was seen less than 100 ft out in the water when it appeared behind Walter Szulc.
Onlookers desperately tried to get his attention to get him back to the beach.
One witness said: “There were hundreds of people on the beach, and they were all at the edge, yelling paddle, paddle, paddle!”
Safely on dry land Walter Szulc said he had not heard the warnings and had no idea there was a shark behind him until he was close to shore.
The moment he turns around to see the shark’s fin closing up on him was caught by a bystander.
“I looked behind me and that’s when I saw the shark, it was pretty much right there.
“I got a glimpse of it. It was a good size and it had a fin sticking out, so I just turned and paddled,” Walter Szulc said to local television station WHDH.
“I took a quick glance, it was probably seven to eight feet behind me.”
He added that he had teased his young daughter before going in the kayak.
The girl had refused to go in the water because she was afraid of sharks, but her father had laughed and assured her that there was nothing to be afraid of, the odds being very low.
“I found the odds, and they’re not exactly as good as I thought!”
No one came to harm in the incident but Nauset Beach immediately closed to swimmers. It was reopened on Sunday morning, according to beach officials.
Walter Szulc’s harrowing experience came amid a rash of shark sightings in areas like Cape Cod during its peak of Summer tourism.
Less than a week ago, July 3, two great white sharks were photographed swimming off the coast of Orleans and Chatham with the first sighting of the season having occurred a mere days before.
The sharks are drawn to the waters around Cape Cod as they are filling up with seals, a favorite food for the aquatic carnivore.