In a Surfing Life exclusive we can reveal the full sequence from Eden Hasson riding over a White shark in Port Stephens this week. Many are saying he allegedly rode over a shark, and many more are saying he rode over a duck diving surfer.
Surfing Life were keen to get to the bottom of this polarising internet issue so we contacted Chris Hasson, the father of Eden and the photographer of the shot.
Chris was surprised at how quickly and how viral his photo of Eden riding over a shark went. He was even more baffled by the internet’s response calling the shark, a duck diving surfer.
Surfing Life spoke with Chris in length last night, and here’s what we can reveal.
Chris adds, “There is absolutely no question that is a shark in the photo and not a person duck diving. I was asked for the image initially by the Newcastle Herald and I did not approach the media. The reporter will testify that I was very hesitant in actually releasing the photo because I didn’t trust the news would put a positive spin on it. I also did not ask for one cent (from this).”
Which is an important note to add. Chris did not want media attention for his photo which went viral after he posted it to his Facebook account.
Why were you reluctant to release the photo to the media?
“I was concerned about Eden and if a story was to be run then it needed to be a positive story, because I didn’t want to create a fear in Eden of sharks. And I didn’t want other kids to fear sharks. The media tend to stir up fear over sharks, and I definitely didn’t want anything like that happening.
… they (Newcastle Herald) agreed and said they had been tricked before with fake stories, so they got a surfing expert and a shark expert to validate the image I sent which was just the main one I sent Surfing Life just now. Peter McCabe reviewed the image and was quoted as saying there was no question it was a shark. And shark expert Danny Bucher was also saying that it was a Great White shark.
So why did you share the photo to Facebook?
“I was just happy about the photo, as Eden was. And after a consultation with him to share the one in a million shot. In hindsight, the fact that there is a slight optical illusion, I guess only adds to how amazing the photo really is.”
Once the photo was released, Chris was shocked with how quickly the photo spread. Ellen DeGeneres even phoned him at one point to interview Eden.
Even more shockingly for Chris was how the internet went from, “Wow what a lucky escape,” to, “That’s bullshit, this photo is fake,” and the personal attacks which followed, all in the space of one day.
Chris is also dumbfounded that the optical illusion of his photo also somehow overrides three different eyewitness accounts of the incident. While no one there is sure what was in the water that afternoon, all of them are in agreement that there was no other surfer in the water going into the lefts where Eden was. Therefore, whatever is in the wave is from under the water, not on top of it like a paddling surfer would.
Josh Dickson the high school surfer paddling back out in the frame where the shark appears says, “100% there was no other surfer out that wide where Eden was.”
Eyewitness accounts are the currency which a legal court of law deals in. Without them, a case is shaky at best. With one, they have traction. With three, and where until the afternoon in question, they weren’t previously known to each other, in court terms that is overwhelming evidence to support Chris’s story.
Enough of the talk though, see the sequence for yourselves and see what you think.