Fact Check


Does a photograph show a surfer approaching a lurking shark?

Published Feb 19, 2004


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

Status:   Real photograph; inaccurate description.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 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. But as the version of the photograph posted on the web indicates, however, the ominous-looking finned creature 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 demonstrates conclusively that it was in fact a dolphin:


Last updated:   24 July 2003

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

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