This photograph has gone around the world like wildfire... The White Shark Trust has received numerous eMails from concerned people who were shocked to see this great photograph.

With the permission of the author, Kurt Jones, we decided to display these images and ease your mind about the truth...

Is this really a surfer with a Shark? Do these sorts of encounters happen often?

The answer to the first question is NO. Observe the tail fin on the photographs... Sharks (Elasmobranchs) have vertical tail fins, whereas Dolphins (Cetaceans) have a horizontal tail fin which can be seen on the images.

The answer to the second question is YES. There are so many reports and aerial survey photographs showing swimmers, surfers and... Sharks! There are actually so many proofs of these close encounters that it puts the whole Shark vs Human interaction into another perspective: There are so few shark attacks every year worldwide (on average 80 - 120 shark attacks every year, of which 5 - 15 are lethal), compared to these common close encounters, showing by itself that Sharks are not the monsterous man-eaters they are made to be. Most people who have spent some time in the water, swimming or surfing or scuba-diving have attracted the curious attention of Sharks, most of these remain unknown to us though.

If you would like to know more about Kurt Jones, author of these great photographs, and the origin of these images, please visit his web site...

Survey

by Chris FLORESCU

One of our former Field Research Assistants working at a Tourism Bureau in the UK conducted a survey with regards to the photograph shown at the top of this page.

To date (17 August 2003), Chris Florescu asked 150 visitors from all age groups, overseas and local, to identify the identity of the shadow in the water in front of the surfer.

The results are astonishing but not really surprising:

Identification
Percentage
Shark
87%
Dolphin
10%
Swordfish
1%
Whale
1%
Shadow (?)
1%

This is what I like to call the "Jaws Syndrome"... More people out there have seen Dolphins than Sharks, but yet, we are unable to recognise Dolphins when we see one, or more importantly when we would like to see one... to the contrary, we immediately see Jaws replay in our minds.