Fact Check

Photograph Shows Swimmer Giving 'Shaka' Sign to a Diving Whale

A photograph showing a swimmer giving a "hang loose" sign to a whale originated with a well-known extreme sports and surfing photographer.

Published May 2, 2016

Image courtesy of Wikipedia
A photograph shows a person giving a "shaka" sign to a whale.

An image purportedly showing a swimmer giving a "hang loose" hand gesture to a whale tail waving from the ocean's surface fell into the "too good to be true" category for many viewers when it started circulating online in 2015.

The above-displayed photograph was taken by Kyle Taylor, a photographer and extreme sports enthusiast from Australia, whose 500px and Instagram accounts are full of unbelievable images. While Taylor did not provide much information about the whale tail photograph when it was originally posted in May 2015, he did provide the location as well as some technical details:

Swimming with a Whale in Byron Bay, Australia.

Instagram: kylextaylor

Photo taken in 2015 (time is set wrong on GoPro)

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Taylor did not comment on this specific image during an interview with Metro.co.uk, but he did talk about his photography:

‘I do these things because I love it, it’s the simplest explanation,’ Kyle said.

‘My focus is to create these amazing images and share them with the world in hopes to inspire people to get away from the couch, make them realise that they only have one chance at life.’

While Byron Bay is a popular whale watching destination and Kyle Taylor is known for his extreme photography, we're still a little skeptical about this image. We've reached out to Taylor to confirm that this image is indeed authentic.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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