Eden Hasson, aged 10, was photographed surfing a wave next to a shark. Eden went to Samurai Beach in New South Wales, along with his family and friends, and paddled at the northern end of the beach. He took off on a left-hander wave while his father, Chris Hasson, an experienced surfer, was capturing photos of him from the shore.
The boy recalled, he thought he saw a dark shape nearby, but continued surfing. After seeing the photo, Eden said he was shocked, but he wasn’t too scared.
Chris Hasson’s Facebook post wrote:
Eden Hasson: Playing with sharks. Background to photo. Up Northern for the late surf. Storm in background. I’m on the rocks taking photos of Eden. I see a big dark shape and about to call the small group in and Eden takes off on a left and smashes it to the beach. Just as he is taking off, I see something out of the corner of my eye. I keep shooting and after he finishes and starts paddling out, I zoom in on the second photo and see he’s just done a backhand snap on an 8-foot Great White Shark’s head. Call everyone in and show them the photo. Lucky he didn’t fall off. This photo is going straight to the pool room. Not everyday you get a photo surfing over a big white. Check its mouth. It’s rolled over having a good look at his yummy yellow new wetsuit.
Chris Hasson said the experience did not deter his family and friends from going back into the surf.
“I’ve always taught the children about respecting the ocean and that sharks are to be respected not feared,’’ Chris said.
“Eden is not deterred and has already paddled out for a surf the next day. He loves surfing and the ocean. It’s only created a greater awareness.”
“I’ve surfed the area for 30 years and sharks have always been there, and always will be, and there’s largely never a problem.”
Mr. Hasson has refuted claims that the photograph was actually a surfer duck-diving in front of Eden. He said there was nobody else close to the wave other than Josh Dickson, another surfer seen on the left of the original picture.
“If you see the original from further away, surfers don’t duck dive that deep on shoulders of waves and there is no splash or wake from him paddling or duck-diving,’’ Chris said.
In an interview with The Newcastle Herald, Marine ecologist and shark expert Dr. Danny Bucher said he believed the shark may have been startled by Eden and was rolling away as the photograph was taken, giving it an impression it was swimming upside down.
“They will roll after biting into, say, a whale carcass in order to tear off pieces, but the initial approach is in an upright position where they are more stable. Rolling on approach would take the surfer out of the shark’s field of vision, so I don’t interpret this move as particularly aggressive or predatory,” he said.
“Quite the opposite, it may have been startled by the rapid approach of the board and has broken the surface in a rapid change of direction away from the surfer.’’
Here is a Facebook video posted by Harlan Marriott, a friend of Chris showing Chris and Eden’s interview on TV regarding the incident:
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