Whale Shark Rider: Teen Rides Shark for 10 Seconds (+Video)

June 17, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

A whale shark gave a Florida teenager a ride for around 10 seconds in the Gulf of Mexico.

Chris Kreis spotted the whale shark, which weighs around 50,000 pounds and is 30-feet-long, in the ocean. A video shows Kreis, 19, grabbing onto the back of the fish’s dorsal fin.

“I decided, you know what, maybe I should go try and swim with him. I might not be able to do it ever again,” Kreis told ABC News. “He began to descend, and if something doesn’t want you on it, you might as well just let it go,” he added.

Whale sharks are generally harmless, feeding mainly on plankton.

“When I started holding on, I felt the whale started moving itself. I felt the drag and he didn’t really want me on there, so I let go and that’s it,” Kreis elaborated to CBS News. “There were two big bull sharks in the area, so that’s why I was kind of hauling back really quickly.”

However, some critics say that Kreis’s move could have harmed the animal.

“When people spend a lot of time and a lot of pressure on a fish, it takes away that slime covering and potentially has negative health impacts for the fish,” marine biologist Bruce Neill told the network.

Neill said that the fish could have also attacked Kreis.