Fact Check

Shark Surfin'

Does a photograph show a surfer's close encounter with a lurking shark?

Published Jul 24, 2003

Claim:   Photograph shows a surfer's close encounter with a lurking shark.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2003]

Look at this! That dude's about to get munched by a shark!



Origins:   The photograph displayed above is indeed real, but it doesn't depict the hair-raising scene most viewers think it does.

This picture was taken by photographer Kurt Jones on 9 April 2003 at Surfrider Beach in Malibu, one of California's premier surfing beaches. However, the ominous-looking finned creature pictured lurking just beneath the surface of the waves is a dolphin (possibly a bottlenose), not a shark.

A subsequent picture of the animal snapped later in the day by the same photographer demonstrated conclusively that it was in fact a dolphin:


Last updated:   30 December 2013

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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