After watching the video purportedly of a surfer being towed by a great white shark, you might be thinking, “Is it even worth asking whether this is real or not?” However, a quick glance through some of the comments from YouTubers would tend to indicate there is much debate over the authenticity of this footage…
To get to the point, it’s not any more “real” than the last movie you saw at the theater. However, it’s not really a “hoax,” either, or at least, it wasn’t really intended to be. The hoax aspect has come into play more as a result of the responses of YouTube viewers, than as a result of the actual video content.
The original video is one of three viral videos produced by Arnette sunglasses as part of their “Notorious” campaign. In fact, all three videos are still available for viewing on Arnette’s website under the “FOOTAGE” menu item.
The video seems to have been originally posted (April, 2008) on YouTube by an Arnette representative, based on the original poster’s screen name of “Notorious415” along with a link to the Arnette sunglasses website in the video information. However, Arnette’s original posting of the video has not drawn nearly as many views as the instance of the same video posted by YouTube user sdalagelli who represents the website illegaladvertising.com which features banned, funny, and controversial commercials and viral campaigns. It’s sdalagelli’s posting of the video, which was posted a few days after the original posting of the video, that has been raking in the viewers with over 2.7 million views at the time of this writing, compared to the one posted by Arnette which has less than 550,000 views on YouTube. Surprisingly, the fact that the video was originally posted by a sunglasses company and later a representative from a website focused on offbeat commercials has not slowed claims that the events in the footage are genuine.
True believers in this video might argue that just because it was created for commercial reasons doesn’t mean that the events in the video aren’t real, which is true. However, it doesn’t take a shark expert to recognize that the surfer in the video is not being pulled by a hooked great white shark, which would certainly not be cruising in a straight path calmly pulling along a human on a surfboard after having just been hooked on a rod and reel. If you’re not convinced check out some of the video footage of Michael Domeier’s team hooking a great white shark. It also doesn’t take a shark expert to realize that a shark with a dorsal fin the size of the one seen in the video would also have a massive caudal fin sticking out of the water, which is nowhere to be seen. In fact, based on the proximity to shore, it seems ridiculous to think that a white shark of any substantial size would be hanging out in water that shallow. I’m not even going to get into the wake left by the “shark” as its towing the surfer or the lack of any level of excitement on the part of the other surfers paddling by. That being said, I’m sure somebody out there has a cousin, who knows a guy who is friends with a dude who was there when it happened and swears it’s true. That same person probably has acres and acres of oceanfront property in Kansas that they would love to sell to you, too.
PS The Notorious video of the guy falling off his motorcycle, only to get back up, run by several other passing motorcycles and climb back on the still moving bike is also not real. Sorry.
PPS The Notorious video of the guy skating on the half-pipe and flying completely over the entire length of the half-pipe from one side to the other is totally real, though. My cousin knows a guy who is friends with a dude who was there when it happened. He said it was awesome…but don’t quote me on that.