'Shark Beach with Chris Hemsworth' — when Thor swam with Jaws

Surfing fan Chris Hemsworth has felt the presence of sharks while out on the ocean.
Surfing fan Chris Hemsworth has felt the presence of sharks while out on the ocean. (Image credit: National Geographic)

Hollywood star Chris Hemsworth, aka Thor in the hit movie franchise, has always been a keen surfer. But the Aussie actor admits that when he’s in the ocean he’s always wary about what’s underneath him. 

"Living on Australia’s east coast I’ve spent a big part of my life in and around the ocean," he says in a new documentary called Shark Beach With Chris Hemsworth. "I’ve never seen a shark while surfing but you definitely feel their presence and there’s been a couple of spooky moments when I’ve been pretty certain there’s something underneath me." 

This healthy respect for sharks has turned Chris into a big fan of the apex predator and he hopes to get to the bottom of the creatures’ terrifying reputation and find a way humans and sharks can co-exist without harming one another. This couldn’t come at a more crucial time as last year in Australia there were a record eight fatal shark attacks off its beaches. But over the last 50 years, there’s also been a 70 percent drop in the number of sharks in the world. Chris insists: "They have more to fear from us than we do from them." 

Here's much more about Shark Beach with Chris Hemsworth...

Chris Hemsworth takes a dive with a 12ft-long Grey nurse shark.

Chris Hemsworth takes a dive with a 12ft-long Grey nurse shark. (Image credit: National Geographic)

Shark Beach with Chris Hemsworth release date

The one-off documentary Shark Beach with Chris Hemsworth forms part of Nat Geo’s famous "Sharkfest" which boasts two weeks of fascinating shows about the creatures. In the US on Monday, July 5 at p.m. (ET) on National Geographic. Also, read our guide on How To watch Nat Geo's Sharkfest content which gives full details of the fortnight. 

Shark Beach with Chris Hemsworth will be shown in the UK on Nat Geo Wild on Monday, July 12 at 8pm. Disney+ will also be debuting the best programming from past 'Sharkfest' seasons starting 16 July so this documentary will also appear on Disney+ in both the US and UK.

Is there a trailer for Shark Beach With Chris Hemsworth?

Yes there is! Watch Chris Hemsworth explain his fascination with sharks below... "In Australia where I live, we've just had the worst spate of fatal shark encounters in a century,'" Chris says. "As someone who loves sharks and being in the water, I want to find out if we can live together without doing each other harm."

Shark Beach with Chris Hemsworth — his fact-finding mission

Chris learns how global warming is bringing more sharks closer to our shorelines and meets legendary shark conservationist Valerie Taylor, who takes him diving with grey nurse sharks, one of which measures a whopping 12ft. "It’s such a privilege seeing these creatures up close. It was beyond my expectations," says an elated Chris after the dive. "You definitely feel like this is their space, their home and you’re the guest. You feel completely at the mercy of what’s around you and these creatures but at peace at the same time. I had no idea I’d feel that way about the ocean and these beautiful creatures we need to protect."

Chris speaks to indigenous artist Nickolla Clark who explains how the Arakwal people avoid shark attacks by learning when and where it is safe to swim. He also gets to grips with the latest technology that is being used to stop shark attacks, meeting scientist Charlie Huveneers, who’s testing out surfboards with built-in electrical deterrents. The star also helps out with a program that tags great white sharks and connects them to a coastal alarm system. This means that if the shark strays too close to the shoreline the lifeguards can quickly evacuate the beaches. 

Chris Hemsworth monitoring sharks.

Chris Hemsworth monitoring sharks. (Image credit: National Geographic)

All about legendary shark conservationist Valerie Taylor

Chris Hemsworth meets shark conservationist Valerie Taylor, now 85, and they both dive with grey nurse sharks. Valerie started her career as a champion spear-fisher but then she and her husband Ron fell in love with sharks. She threw herself into conservation and helped to save grey nurse sharks in Australia, which at the time were critically endangered. Thanks to her efforts they were the first sharks to get protected status. She has made numerous films about sharks, the most famous being the 1971 documentary Blue Water White Death about Great Whites. She even helped film sequences for the movie Jaws in 1975.  

Chris Hemsworth learns about shark conservation from Valerie Taylor.

Chris Hemsworth learns about shark conservation from legendary Valerie Taylor. (Image credit: National Geographic)

Shark Beach with Chris Hemsworth — a shark attack story

Chris’ Hemsworth's friend Mike Fanning is a champion surfer and in the documentary he chats to Chris about the moment he was hit in the face by the tail of a Great White shark, while taking part in a surfing competition. 

"I was in the final when I heard a splash behind me,’" recalls Mike. "Then I was hit by a tail in the face and I thought I was gone. Even now I’m still scared of hearing splashes behind me. Even if the waves are perfect, if I don’t feel right I go in these days. It’s not worth the risk.’"

What else is on during Nat Geo's Sharkfest? 

National Geographic’s Sharkfest event has got more bite than ever this year. It starts on 5 July in the US and 12 July in the UK. As well as Chris Hemsworth’s documentary there’s two weeks’ of other shark shows to enjoy. The ninth ever Sharkfest will include Shark Attack Investigation: The Paige Winter Story, where experts examine the details of the teenager’s attack in 2019 and why she remains an advocate for sharks. There’s also the six-part Shark Attack Files, which investigates bizarre and fascinating shark behavior and includes footage from real-life shark attacks. Rogue Shark explores a series of shark attacks in Australia while deadly predators face off in The Croc That Ate Jaws. Shark Gangs reveals why sharks hang out in groups and the much-loved When Sharks Attack series returns to see what’s behind a surge in attacks. 

If you want to find out more about Valerie Taylor, she features in Playing with Sharks which will be shown on Disney+ from July 23.

All about Chris Hemsworth...

Chris Hemsworth is best known around the wold for playing Thor!

Chris Hemsworth is best known around the wold for playing Thor! (Image credit: Marvel)

Chris Hemsworth appeared in an episode of Aussie soap Neighbours in 2002, then went on to play Kim Hyde in the country's other popular soap Home And Away from 2004 to 2007. It was landing the role of Thor in 2011 that made him one of the most sought-after leading men in Hollywood — an accolade he shares with his brother, Liam. As well as appearing as Thor in numerous Marvel movies, Chris has gone on to star in Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) and The Huntsman: Winter’s War in 2016. He also played George Kirk in Star Trek into Darkness back in 2013. 

Chris Hemsworth as Thor.

(Image credit: Marvel)

From left, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson and Tom Hiddleston in "Thor: Ragnarok".

From left, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson and Tom Hiddleston in "Thor: Ragnarok". (Image credit: Marvel Studios)
Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.