A viral photo which shows an enormous great white shark lurking in the water beneath a 10-year-old boy surfing a wave has divided the internet.

Eden Hasson was catching the last of the light while surfing at Samurai Beach in NSW on Tuesday evening when his dad spotted the suspicious shape in the water.

And while the youngster raced to shore and received international attention for his spectacular ‘brush with death’, many surfers online were less than convinced, the Daily Mail reported.

Some even labelled the photo a ‘hoax’, pointing out that the shape in the water looked similar to another surfer diving beneath the wave with his board.

‘This is too funny you got your time on TV for a hoax – it’s so obvious to anyone who surfs that this is another surfer duck diving,’ wrote one man.

‘The more I look the more it looks like a surfer duck diving to get out of the way,’ added another.

‘It is another surfer duck diving a wave and not a shark. Granted it looks awful similar but the grey you can see breaking the surface really isn’t in the right spot and you can make out his feet,’ said another.

Other users pointed out it was unlikely a great white shark of that size would have been floating upside down with its mouth facing the sky.

Most sharks typically experience tonic immobility – a natural state of paralysis – when they go upside down.

Chris and his son Eden Hasson. Photo / via Facebook
Chris and his son Eden Hasson. Photo / via Facebook

But Eden’s father, lifetime surfer Chris Hasson, firmly denied the claims and said that all four surfers in the water could confirm that the photo had not been doctored and was definitely a shark.

‘It’s legit as I took photo and there were only four guys out and I called them in straight away and showed them photo,’ he wrote online.

‘Haha (it’s an) optical illusion. Sorry conspiracy theorists. The four guys out will validate. Definitely a shark, legit you trolls.’

He was standing on the rocks taking photographs of his son when he saw a dark shadow in the water.

Mr Hasson, who is a Nelson Bay real estate agent with Real Estate Friendly, was snapping away when he zoomed in and caught the head of a three-metre great white shark just as Eden glided his board over it.

‘Check it’s mouth,’ Mr Hasson told his friends via Facebook at the time the photo was taken. ‘It’s rolled over having a good look at his yummy yellow new wetsuit.’

Mr Hasson said the extraordinary photograph came about as Eden rode the wave to the beach. He quickly zoomed in and was shocked at the image he saw.

‘Eden was half way out and I called everyone in. I showed them the photo and everyone was in awe laughing,’ Mr Hasson said,

‘One of the surfers said just before the wave a large school of mullet arrived.’