I've sent a copy off to snopes.com to have them verify it. I'll post again when the results are in.
EDIT: ... not that it's really necessary. It bears all the hallmarks of a fake video, albeit a reasonably well produced one.
The video begins by depicting a brave young surfer braving the reasonably deep shallows of presumably the Florida coast, has him lure and capture a Great White shark with raw meat at the end of a fishing line, exploits the entrapment by having the shark tow him upon his surfboard, after which there are shoreline celebrations of the feat, and at the end signs off with or advertises a certain "Notorious".
"Notorious" appears to reside in San Francisco, his Myspace (or so I gather) is here: http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.channel&ChannelID=375654827
and here http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=33367849
. Note that this might be a hijacking "Notorious", but I'm inclined to think that this guy is responsible for everything. The other videos available from the first link are of a similar nature to this shark one - they're obviously fakes, and they're signed "Notorious". The gentleman in question is an excellent video editor who should be destined for Hollywood, but a shark-tailing surfer he is most likely not. Note that on the the second link, the one to the video we're talking about, one of the tags (check the column on the right) is "comedy and humor". For crying out loud, the producer's telling us it's a fake!
But, because it's yummy, here goes for the win. BTW, a large part of my real life job involves this kind of investigation, making me the luckiest man on Earth. The pay is lousy but to hell with it.
One. "The number of shark attacks averages about 65 worldwide annually, according to the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida. Expect about 30 attacks in U.S. waters, mostly near Florida." [verified 07/12/08 - http://www.livescience.com/health/080603-bad-medicine.html
] Note the fellas floating about, languishing even, as a frigging huge shark trailing a maniac races by near the end of the video. Even accepting that, the chances of a shark being this close to the coast, but not initiating an attack on such deadbeats, and
getting caught by a single coastal shark-hunter at a particular time of a particular day (let's say he waits three hours, which for a surfer I'd say is generous), are by my rough calculations at least 0.010274%, or about a 10,000 to 1 shot. These odds are similar to hitting a large win on your local lottery. Not astronomical odds by any chance but higher than you'd like to wager on if you had to suit up, spend about £20 (or I assume $40) on raw meat, go out and risk your life whilst videotaping it *every single day* until finding a shark. Note that my calculations are basic and that chances of success in finding a shark are increased by studying migration routes... this said the Great White is one of the most versatile of sharks (being able to moderate its body temperature in waters as warm as Florida from as cold as Alaska), and therefore, without anyone paying me to actually get a marine biologist to give me the actual lowdown, I'm gonna assume my 10,000 to 1 estimate probably is probably only far from the mark in that it's extremely conservative - this is a Great White near a human inhabited shore. How many of us have seen that?
Two. The main protagonist of the video, whose name appears to be John, initially throws the meat on his fishing line like a big girl's blouse, sort of trying to use his fishing rod as leverage. We have no reason to believe he could ever do better sat atop his board. We have no reason to believe he is not, in fact, a big girl's blouse. Either way, if he were to "catch" a Great White in this manner, it'd be more like the Great White caught him, since said breed of shark tends to like to spring out of the water on its surface victims - even if it weren't aware of John, he would likely be seriously injured or killed as the shark began its descent back towards the watery depths, pulling him along with it. In any case, he begins reeling his bait back in, at which point there is a jump cut to what appears to be a shark fin.
Three. About those jump cuts. And the shaky camera movement. Hmph. Clever but faux, I'd say. The first fifteen seconds of the movie contain cuts to and from a position on the pier with John, and a distant shot from the shoreline beneath the pier taken at an unknown location. When John throws out his board, it flies out straight. On the shot from the distant shoreline, it appears to be spinning. I know, this doesn't even really convince me (too much like "Loose Change" argumentation), but nevertheless I reckon that the throwing of kit and jumping into water of John took place twice for two separate shoots. When making a film ordinarily this is what you'd do anyway. Also, why not show a distance shot of the fishing rod going down, too? I reckon it was to save that forty bucks on fresh meat for the post-production barbecue.
Four. At this point I'd like to announce that there's a lot more wrong with this video but I'm actually getting bored because it's like shooting fish in a barrel (boy will I be embarrassed if this turns out to be a genuine article!!!). Okay. Two more things. Here's the first: The "Great White"'s movements are inconsistent, as previous posters have correctly observed, with that of any wild animal being caught, never mind a shark. Hell, I caught a pike once and that was scary enough. I would definitely not want to be "surfing a shark"... except maybe a roboshark which goes in a straight line at a constant speed without going berserk at passers-by, of which there are several at this point of this video, which suggests that the coastguard (presumably Floridan but wherever it may be) were off duty and not putting up red flags to get people out of the water, well, at least ten minutes ago...
Five. Well, there's very little twilight in the tropics, but in the Northern hemisphere I have yet to see the sky go from one colour to another in such quick fashion. Take a look between -47 seconds and -36 seconds: the sky color changes from a sort of overcast gray to a hellish yellow over this period and to be honest conditions seem to change from one cut to another throughout the video. This tape was taken over a day, not as a live episode. And from a hell of a lot of positions.
OK, one final one (I was hoping to be able to see more shadow evidence of time changes but gave up): Where the *hell* does the shark go after this escapade? And what the hell is "John" shouting about as he celebrates ("where's the [board/ball]"? if it's the board, it's in the water behind him, not sure about a ball). Beached Great Whites are big news events, never mind "surfed" Great Whites (try Googlng "great white surf" - nothing for this event turns up except for the sixth link... which is to this video) , and beaches are closed immediately whenever shark is sighted, even if it's unconfirmed (so those layabouts in the water and the observers, cameraman and surfer boy "John" would all have been, well, not around).
Just check out what happened yesterday:
Enough already. It's fake. He said so himself. But it'll still be fun to poke more holes in it. I reckon I can find a few more. I reckon a lot of people can punch holes in my holes! It'll be fun.
I'll be back tomorrow. Goodnight!
Scott "jawns and says goodnight" Anderson.