Insight & Analysis

The world’s first surfing seal

Published: Aug 2023

A seal-pup has been turning up every morning to go surfing off the coast of San Diego, California.

Local surfers at Pacific Beach in San Deigo, California have had a surprising companion take up the sport. Every morning a seal-pup shows up to ride with different surfers, who are happy to let him sit at the front of their board.

Whilst the surfers were cautious to engage with the seal-pup at first, they soon learnt the rookie surfer is adventurous and enjoys the large waves.

Locals have named him Sammy, after a children’s book, and have been sharing their experiences with him online. Some of the lucky surfers have described the experience as ‘a moment of pure happiness’ and a ‘magical moment.’

Lifeguards first noticed Sammy after they chased a shark away from the shore. They watched him on the first morning hesitantly swim among the surf boards and eventually he became more courageous and started jumping on and off them. Sammy returned each morning for impromptu lessons between 8am and 10am, but as crowds began arriving at the beach as news about him spread, he now joins the early pre-dawn surfers.

Marine experts from SeaWorld have checked on Sammy and are happy he is calm, unafraid and in perfect health.

One day Sammy even brought a friend with him to experience his new hobby, leading locals to wonder if surfing seals will become the norm at this San Diego beach.

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