Dolphins Approaching

Here's an interesting picture that's going around via email. I can't tell if it's real or photoshopped, but I'm inclined to say that it's real. I can't see any obvious signs of photoshopping, and dolphins do like to surf waves. However, I wouldn't like to be those guys staring down a school of dolphins about to crash down on top of them (though the perspective probably makes the people appear closer to the dolphins than they actually were). It reminds me of this other (real) picture of a dolphin in a wave. Click on the image for a slightly larger version. image

Animals Photos

Posted on Mon Aug 16, 2004


Well, you have to think about it. From the perspective, I'd say this image was captured from the shore since the waves are coming towards the camera. Why would a group of dolphins be swimming so closely to the shore. None of them are really showing any change in direction (i.e. making a left or a right so they won't hit the shore), at least not in the same direction. My theory is that it's all just several different pictures of the same dolphin pasted in different areas, and that the two people in the water were only looking at one dolphin. Of course, that's just my opinion
Posted by Dan  on  Tue Aug 17, 2004  at  12:58 AM
The link to the other photo on the other page 4.9.03/m1.html gives a 404.
Posted by Chipo  on  Tue Aug 17, 2004  at  03:15 AM
Chipo, the guy must have changed the link on his site. I've fixed it now.

Dan, the first thing I thought was that it must be the same dolphin cut and pasted into different areas. But if you look closely, you can see that they're not the same dolphin. Also, if the photographer was using a telephoto lens, it wouldn't necessarily have been that close to shore.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Tue Aug 17, 2004  at  10:32 AM
My guess is that the surfers are sitting(floating?) on the crest of another wave, so they appear to be closer to the dolphins than they are. I would imagine if that wave were closer, they'd at least be paddling so they wouldn't get swept up when the wave passed. Pretty cool picture though. I'm also inclined to believe it's real.
Posted by Mark  on  Tue Aug 17, 2004  at  11:07 AM
I'm no Dolphin expert, but I've spent a few summers in Florida. Everyday, a group (pod?) of dolphins would go by at a certain time, and it wasn't too far from shore. maybe 50 yards or so. I never caught them surfing, but then the waves never got this big where I was.
Posted by Matt  on  Tue Aug 17, 2004  at  11:56 AM
The other photo is used by in their demotivational poster "Change" at
Posted by Terry Austin  in  California  on  Tue Aug 17, 2004  at  02:20 PM
I live in North East Florida and have seen groups of dolphins doing exactly such 'wave-sub-surfing' on numerous occasions, the last time being only 2 weeks ago. I'd say the photo was real without a doubt!
Posted by Stuart  in  Florida  on  Tue Aug 17, 2004  at  02:22 PM
it's from swimming in all that prozac!!
Posted by john  in  NH  on  Tue Aug 17, 2004  at  08:36 PM
The pic is real....I came acrossed it on a fact or fiction sight. and also if you watch surfing compitions on TV, you can see fish and other creatures in the waves by the surfer.
Posted by Stephen  in  Texas  on  Wed Aug 18, 2004  at  11:25 AM
The dolphins look good - and I have absolutely no reason to think it's fake. I just wonder why one swimmer has a reflection and the other hasn't. The guy in blue also looks like the light is coming from straight left while the dolphins and guy in green look like the light is coming from higer up.
Posted by ManiacalV  in  Cleveland  on  Wed Aug 18, 2004  at  04:22 PM
It's clearly two photos merged top and bottom.
Posted by Joe  in  Cape Town, South Africa  on  Thu Aug 19, 2004  at  09:35 AM
I see dolphins do this very close to surfers frequently in Santa Monica Bay. What's the big deal? Don't you go to the beach?
Posted by Anne  in  Redondo Beach  on  Thu Aug 19, 2004  at  04:10 PM
It looks like the surfers were added to the picture of the dolphins.
Posted by Vincent  in  USA  on  Fri Aug 20, 2004  at  09:09 AM
I dun think the surfers were added. If they had been added that would mean the picture of the dolphins riding the waves together would be real. And if that were real it would be getting a lot of attention on the internet. A big part of that picture gettin so much attention is the fact that there are so many dolphins riding a wave together. Animal lovers would love for that kinda shot. So if the dolphin part without the humans was real, we would definately be able to find that one on the internet somewhere.
Posted by Jimmy  on  Fri Aug 20, 2004  at  01:06 PM
I've been surfing for 25 years and have seen more dolphins in the wild than I can possible count. I have no problem with this photo, I've seen it happen many many times both to myself and to other surfers. The dolphins will simply avoid the surfers, they do this all the time.
Posted by Drew  in  Australia  on  Sun Aug 29, 2004  at  08:32 PM
I have a photo taken by Scott... dang.. I can't remember his name. It's called 7 surfing dolphins, and shows very much the same senario (sans surfers)... (don't you just love alliteration). The surfers may not be as close as they appear, but the dolphins LOVE doing this (wouldn't you?)
Posted by Marilyn  in  CA  on  Fri Sep 03, 2004  at  05:48 PM
I really don't care if it's real or not....I just think it's a cool picture and would love to have it as a poster. Does anyone know if it is available as a poster?
Posted by Marilynn Moore  in  Hartsville, SC  on  Fri Sep 17, 2004  at  04:14 PM
Like Marylyn asked on Sept 17,2004 - Does anyone know if this is available ina Poster or Glossy Picture. I would love to have one myself
Posted by Henry Bannwarth  in  South Florida  on  Mon Nov 29, 2004  at  10:39 AM
I can remember seeing a picture very similar to this available on a poster as early as 1989. A quick GIS of "surfing dolphin" yields many similar shots from different angles. Whether or not this particular one is real, the concept is plausible.
Posted by Griz  on  Mon Nov 29, 2004  at  06:31 PM
I have seen this photo on a Jones Soda bottle.
Posted by Zach  in  Edmonton  on  Thu Dec 16, 2004  at  11:35 AM
I edit photos *just* like this one for noted photographers professionally. This is clearly a composite. Meaning that someone combined a real photo of dolphins surfing and human surfers. The photo of dolphins is without any doubt the real deal - this is what dolphins do. Even with the low resolution and jpeg artifacts, the transition is visible. This is intermediate Photoshop skill level.

Posted by surfdog  on  Tue Jan 18, 2005  at  09:26 PM
Does anyone know who owns the copyright on this picture of the dolphins and the surfers? Thanks.
Posted by wizardkees  in  USA  on  Wed Oct 05, 2005  at  09:42 AM
If you guys don't think this photo is real, then you're obviously not a surfer. The reason I found this website is because I googled "surfers dolphins" to find the photo simply because during my surf session this morning this EXACT thing happened to me (and numerous other surfers) with three dolphins.

We were less than 100 yards from shore - in fact several guys were standing up as the dolphin surfed the waves - just like this- and then swam directly under us at a high rate of speed. We actually thought we were going to get hit.

I'm emailing this photo to some buds to show them exactly what happened. Whether this photo is real or not - you can believe that it happens AND we were in less than 5 feet of water.
Posted by GW  in  Ponce Inlet, FL  on  Mon Jul 03, 2006  at  10:15 AM
totally agree w/surfdog. both pics are real, but they're stitched together. intermediate skill displayed. at that angle, you would also have a reflection of the incoming wave in the foreground, much like you already have on the right side just next to the green surfer. scale of dolphins relative to the humans would dictate that reflection, which is not there, which proves this photo false. that doesn't mean it ain't cool. just a fake. i'm saying that based on 20+ years of surfing most of the california coast, sometimes w/fellow dolphins in the waves. it's not unusual at all (well, kinda). then again, neither are trained eyes, as evidenced by the unconvinced.
Posted by nor cal surfer photoshopper  in  nor cal  on  Wed Jul 05, 2006  at  02:14 PM
I've seen dolphins do this many times while I was surf fishing at Topanga Beach, Cal.
Posted by MLB  in  Van Nuys, Ca  on  Sat Jan 20, 2007  at  01:48 PM
Has anyone thought about actually asking a surfer if they've ever seen this? I can tell you that in my 14 years of surfing that this was a common sight when I lived in Florida. Dolphins are playful animals in as much as we are. They "surf" the waves all the time. Sometimes they jump over one another almost as if it was choreographed. I do have to say though that the water would get a bit warmer in my vincinity if I was one of these guys. I've read a few stories through the years of people getting squased by dolpins landing on them in the waves. They're not exactly small animals. The fact that it is close to shore makes no difference. I've seen dolphins in only about 6 feet of water before. Besides, sharks feed in the shallows. They'll always be a welcome sight as long as I'm in the water. As far as I'm concerned this is as real as it gets. Nice shot!
Posted by Matt  in  Rhode Island  on  Wed Dec 05, 2007  at  10:08 PM
After a little investigating on the net I came across the source and I have to say that I would never hire either Surfdog or nor cal surfer photoshopper. Apparently they're not very skilled. Only critical and ignorant. I had to look some more because I was once a photographer and what they were saying made no sense to me. As far as I could see it was completely real and it is. For one. . .the resolution is way too low to know for sure. Check out the link. These guys remind me of why I got out of the business. You should get your trained eyes checked.
Posted by Matt  in  Rhode Island  on  Wed Dec 05, 2007  at  10:35 PM
dolphins catch their food by "chasing it" into other dolphins or onto the shore.

that is why sometimes you see beached dolphins.
Posted by Joanne  in  ohio  on  Fri Oct 17, 2008  at  03:30 PM
worked a number of years with marine rescue teams all over
Dolphins do not play in surf and that close to shore except to strand and die. People think Ohh! playful dolphins like the ones at Sea World jumping threw hoops and doing flips and just being so playful. Wild dolphin's are certainly not like that. The picture reminds me of one of the mass strandings a while back but it did not have the surfers in it. Which makes me think someone put them in there
I do hate to think that a mass stranding picture is being used as a humorous picture when in actuality its a real mass stranding a sad natures worse phenomena and people think its a wonderful picture and the dolphins are playing in the surf when they really dont do that except if they are going to strand or if they are sick they will get that close in to shore and beach themselves. I am going to see if I can find the original mass stranding picture and compare the two to see whats been added
Posted by trcker  in  maine  on  Sun Nov 11, 2012  at  12:03 AM
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