Discovery kicked off its annual Shark Week over the weekend, and it did not disappoint. The week-long programming block kicked off its 2020 edition with Air Jaws: The Ultimate Breach, the latest installment of the long-running series. This year's edition produced record-breaking results, as a photo of a great white shark coming 15 feet out of the water was captured.
Chris Fallows managed to document the image as part of the "Ultimate Breach Off." The photo was shared by the official Shark Week Twitter account recently and was taken off the shores of South Africa. It features a young male shark jumping a full 15 feet out of the water, snatching a fake seal, which was used to entice the creature, in its mouth. Fallows called it the photo you dream of in expressing his excitement following the encounter.
"I can't accept how high it came out, it was just perfect... That is an incredible image. The photo you dream of. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, that picture is worth a thousand breaches. This has to be the ultimate air jaws breach."
The network has since released the clip online, showcasing the moment in its entirety. We see Chris Fallows and his team getting a couple of breaches on camera. Before getting the winning photo, Fallows caught a ten-foot jump that he assumed was good enough for the win. But shortly after, the once-in-a-lifetime, 15-foot breach happened. The full sequence is shown in slow-mo, which allows the viewer to take in the full ferocity of the moment. We also get to hear Fallows' reaction which is, understandably, ecstatic.
Air Jaws began in 2001 and has been a staple of Shark Week ever since. This year's edition saw three teams of researchers return to one of the last hunting grounds for these sharks. They utilized decoys, drones and underwater cameras to count the number of breaches and collect data on hunting techniques to see if the shark population is rebounding. Chris Fallows used a tow camera to document the image in question, which resulted in a new series record. Other teams employed different techniques, with one trying to take a nighttime image, while another used a drone camera to document the breaches. In the end, it was Fallows who got the winning shot.
Since its inception in 2001 with Air Jaws: Sharks of South Africa, the series has aired a total of 11 specials counting this year's Ultimate Breach. Shark Week is running now through Sunday, August 16, with more than 20 hours of shark programming throughout the week. Guests for this year's lineup include Mike Tyson, Shaq, Will Smith, Snoop Dogg, Adam Devine, Dude Perfect, Mark Rober, Anders Holm and Blake Anderson. Tyson vs. Jaws: Rumble on the Reef aired over the weekend as well to help kick off the 2020 edition. Be sure to check out the photo from the official Shark Week Twitter for yourself.