But the picture is real enough to be believable.
"Both dolphins and humpback whales can be extremely playful with each other and other species," said Diana Reiss, a cognitive psychologist and dolphin researcher at Hunter College in New York. "It is very possible that this is play, but without seeing it first hand I really don't know."
"Based on the description, I believe play would be the best explanation," agreed Ken Ramirez, vice president of animal care and training at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. "If this were a video, there would be far more information to allow for better interpretation. But it is believed that the "surfing" or bow riding that dolphins exhibit in front of boats may have had its genesis in riding in front or in the wake of big whales."
"What we may be seeing here is that type of surfing, but in this case the whale chose to give the dolphin a different type of ride."