Man Swims Near Shark in Sydney Harbor: Real or Hoax?

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Lisa Winter

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1206 Man Swims Near Shark in Sydney Harbor: Real or Hoax?
Terry Tufferson/YouTube

On June 11, YouTube user Terry Tufferson uploaded a video showing a man jumping off of the Manly cliff into Sydney Harbor with a GoPro camera strapped to his head. Right after resurfacing in the water, a friend points out the presence of a great white shark heading right toward him. 

First, let’s take a look at the video:




Was anyone else disappointed that the guy didn’t really fight off the shark at all? I abhor when people relentlessly paint sharks as vicious maneaters, but given that the video’s title was “GoPro: Man Fights Off Great White Shark In Sydney Harbour,” I expected a little more actual interaction.

Here’s a rundown of the clues that this video might not be all it claims to be:


While sharks are occasionally spotted in that area, large ones like the one shown in the video are fairly uncommon. While uncommon doesn’t mean it is impossible that a shark like that could have shown up, it is just one too many strikes against the legitimacy of the video.

The video was uploaded at a resolution of 480p. This is the lowest possible setting for a GoPro and would make some aspects of video editing, such as CGI, harder to detect. Some are claiming this was done intentionally.

However, it isn’t likely that the shark is a CGI effect anyway. It seems much more likely that the shark footage was obtained separately and the scenes were stitched together. The direction in which the friend is pointing doesn’t exactly match up with where the shark actually appears seconds later. Sure, sharks are pretty fast with top speeds of 35 mph, but it is unlikely that a large shark would haul ass through a harbor like that and not eat the crazed, flailing swimmer. Besides, when we see the shark, it doesn’t look like it’s stalking prey anyway. It looks fairly relaxed.

Another clue that this footage isn’t genuine is the teleportation of the shark around 59 seconds into the video.


Just as a heads up, here’s what you’re looking at:

And yet a second later, you see the shark jump over here:

While it is a fun video, it doesn’t appear to be real. There has been a bit of speculation about why the video was made. Simply a regular guy trying to find stardom on YouTube? Sponsored by GoPro for a commercial? (Though, if this were the case, it seems like they would have wanted a bit better resolution on it) Trying to get people hyped up for Shark Week? It’s pretty hard to tell at this point. 


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  • video,

  • debunking,

  • shark,

  • GoPro,

  • hoax