Australian surfer Alex Hayes's selfie showing a large shark only metres away from his surfboard that he shared on Instagram recently has turned out to be fake.
The selfie had quickly gone viral with several publications merrily reporting about the photo.
"So... I went for a paddle out front, decided to stop have a rest and then saw this bad boy," he had written on his Instagram account which has more than 64,000 followers.
However, it turned out that the photo was fake, reported Mashable.
Hayes, 17, confirmed to Mashable Australia the image had been "Photoshopped", and said he thought it would be "obvious" that it was not real.
"I would be happy to have a cruisey, chiller of a shark as a buddy and because that is unlikely, I simply made one with the add of some humour," he was quoted as saying through email.
Although Hayes had not expected the picture to garner so much attention on the internet, he said he found it funny when the image was picked up by news outlets all over the world.
"People believe everything on the internet. It was a harmless joke and everyone got entertainment from it so I'm happy! No harm done!," he added.
Although it was not for real this time, he said he does occasionally see sharks when he is in the water daily. He is a big fan of the killing machines.
"It's pretty awful the way sharks seem to be portrayed as mindless killing machines. When clearly it's their ocean and we intrude where they live so we have to take that risk knowing the consequence and just enjoy the ocean for what it is and respect the sea and its creatures."