Should Bondi Beach Be On Shark Watch, Or Hoax Alert?

22/09/2015 4:31 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Spot Anderson

UPDATE: It looks like our cynicism was well founded about this shark photo. Here's some compelling evidence the photo is fake.

Australians love their shark hoaxes. So when a story came out of Bondi Beach of a massive shark shadowing a group of swimmers, we approached with caution.

The photo, snapped by Bondi Fit Training coach John 'Spot' Anderson, shows a group of swimmers diving down to the shark net, with a large shark on the inside of the net.

Check it out:

Anderson told The Huffington Post Australia the photo was legitimate.

"People can believe what they want," Anderson said.

"I told the rookies it was all fake because we had a surf clinic last Saturday and I didn't want them freaking out.

"It's weird though, we got more people than ever."

He said none of the swimmers saw the shark -- himself included.

"We swum out to the nets to take a few photos," Anderson said.

"I dove down about 15 metres and they didn't come down until I was almost out of breath.

"I was coming up towards the light when I took this pic."

It's a great story, but not everyone's convinced.

Critics of the photo say the shark is swimming at a strange angle when you straighten the image.


Here's the same image, rotated. Picture: Spot Anderson

Another criticism is a comparison between the far off swimmers and the presumably closer sharks.

Anderson said that was probably to do with the GoPro's wide lens.

"It's got a bit of a fish eye effect so the shark could be anywhere from 10 to 15 metres away," he said.

Also, his Facebook friends seem to be having a lot of fun with it.

spots page

Regardless of this, Anderson is adamant the photo is real, and it's not the first time he's had an unreal oceanic experience.

Here's a video of his stand-up paddle boarding with dolphins.

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