ENVIRONMENT

Watch Sea Lions 'Surfing' Off Santa Barbara Island For The Sheer Joy Of It

"None of us had ever seen such sustained and enthusiastic wave riding from pinnipeds before."

Surf’s up, marine mammal dudes!

Sea lions took advantage of a large Southern California swell last week, riding the waves off Santa Barbara Island. (See the video below.)

They leaped and flipped off the back of the breakers, rode some in front, and they generally appeared to be having an excellent time.

The whole scene is even more tubular when it’s set to the classic surfing instrumental “Wipe Out.”

Ryan Lawler of Pacific Offshore Expeditions told USA Today’s For the Win he was on an outing Jan. 7 with a crew hoping to film underwater.

“Our trip to Santa Barbara Island was bumpy and dive conditions questionable,” the company’s Instagram caption read. “But what we found in light of this was a wonderful surprise: surfing sea lions! None of us had ever seen such sustained and enthusiastic wave riding from pinnipeds before. It was a joy to watch!”

Sea lions have been known to body surf when the opportunity presents itself. But for any humans tempted to join the animals in their frolicking, heed the lesson of two surfers in New Zealand who got chased out of the water by the pinnipeds in 2017.

Here’s another look at the “surfing” sea lions in California.