The Otago Daily Times in New Zealand aptly compared Kyle Mulinder’s experience to a “why did the chicken cross the road” joke. The kayaker had been out on the water having fun when a seal suddenly slapped him across the face with a large octopus. Mulinder was reportedly laughing when he told the New Zealand Herald that he was slapped in the face, by an octopus, by a seal, in a kayak, which is, admittedly quite a sentence to recite.

While initially, his experience was a shock, he has had plenty of time to laugh at the video footage taken by his GoPro Hero 7, which shows the moment it happens to him.

Many wanted to know how such a thing could happen, so a scientist explained why the seal did what it did.

The mystery of octopus face-slapping seal solved

Kyle was enjoying time out of the Kaikōura coast when it happened and the video taken of the incident has gone seriously viral. Mulinder, who hails from Motueka, said the experience was an "absolutely crazy event.”

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) are involved in climate, freshwater and ocean science, and one of their scientists posted on their Facebook page to explain the incident. In their post they said they had all seen the video of Mulinder’s experience with the seal and they do admit it does seem very bizarre, adding they are sure Kyle didn’t see it coming.

Mulinder certainly didn’t appear to have done anything to cause the seal to attack him with its eight-tentacled prey.

As noted by the Daily Mail, however, their experts say there is a “perfectly reasonable explanation” for the animal’s bizarre behaviour. Their post went on to say how seals often attempt to get their prey above the surface of the water to give them the upper hand in the fight.

Once they get the prey (in this case the poor octopus) above water, they then fling the prey about in order to stun it.

Normally a seal will try to throw the octopus against something hard to stun it or break the octopus apart. NIWA reckoned Mulinder seemed a likely object to use for such a purpose.

Mulinder was testing his new Go Pro at the time

The Otago Daily Times reported that Kyle had earlier said he was testing his new GoPro Hero 7 with his pals from Kaikōura Kayaks off the coast when it happened. He said they were looking at the birds and fur seals and generally enjoying the waves when they saw the large male seal battling with an equally large octopus. Mulinder added that’s what seals do.

Just when they thought the seal had gone away, it suddenly appeared right next to his kayak. Kyle added that he doesn’t know who got the worst fright – him, the seal or the poor octopus itself.