Shark Surfin’

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

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


REAL PHOTOGRAPH; INACCURATE DESCRIPTION


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2003]


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

Surfer



 

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:

Dolphin

Last updated:   30 December 2013

Snopes.com
Since 1994
A Word to Our Loyal Readers

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

Editorial
  • David Mikkelson
  • Doreen Marchionni
  • David Emery
  • Bond Huberman
  • Jordan Liles
  • Alex Kasprak
  • Dan Evon
  • Dan MacGuill
  • Bethania Palma
  • Liz Donaldson
Operations
  • Vinny Green
  • Ryan Miller
  • Chris Reilly
  • Chad Ort
  • Elyssa Young

Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.

Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.

Team Snopes