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San Diego Surfing Home > Surf Dangers > Dangers - Animals

Dangers - Animals

If you haven't noticed any animals while surfing then you haven't been surfing. Some of the animals that we all have to keep an eye out for are dolphins, sharks, sea lions, pelicans, rays, and pirahnna. The last one was a joke. We'll discuss each of them one by one and what you need to know about each.

Danger Rating: 2

DolphinsGood 'ol Flipper... then here comes Flipper down a wave headed right towards you and your new board! Dolphins are your next best thing to a friend out in the water. If you see them around, don't worry, they are just enjoying the ocean like you are. Sometimes they even feel like going right under you, which is sweet on a clear water day.

You can also feel assured that when you see dolphins, they will hopefully protect you or warn you of any impending danger; do not rely on this though. Just as they like the water like you, dolphins also like catching waves like you. When you stuck on the inside and a fat set is rollin' in, you'll sometimes see dolphins surfing right towards you. Don't freak out, but then again try to paddle away from them or you'll maybe get a fat snout in your face.

There tend to be a lot of dolphins in Del Mar, or so we have noticed.

Danger Rating: 9

SharksJAWS, Deep Blue Sea, see a pattern here at all? It is a safe bet to say that if you see a shark, that you should paddle the other way, preferably towards shore. (please tell others, they will appreciate it, unless you spotted some kelp by mistake) Although you probably will not see a Great White in San Diego, there are plenty of other kinds of sharks that you will see. Wasn't it like last year that some spear fisherman near Coronado speared a huge Great White? Yes.

Every year around the same time, we forget when, all these dark, sand sharks gather near our shores and a clearly visible right below your dangling feet while they swim feverishly on the sea bottom. The point being that they are not harmful if you are not looking to get harmed. Just be wary of a fin coming towards you or anything that may look like a shark.

Sea Lions
Danger Rating: 1

Sea LionsWhat was that movie where that cute sea lion was almost human? ...oh forget it. When you see a sea lion bobbin' its head up and down out the water and going under and coming up in a completely different spot while you wonder where the hell it went, that is when you know it is a sea lion. Do not worry about them. It is almost funny to watch them when they get a fat fish and they chow on it while you a waiting in the line up.

Danger Rating: -1

PelicansJust thought we would mention them.



Danger Rating: 5

Sting RaysThis is something you gotta watch out for here in San Diego. Small rays tend to hang out in the shallow water right where you usually tend to walk out. If you are not wearing booties, shuffle your feet and splash alot while walking out, this should scare them out of there hiding place. However, if you step on them, they have this painful barb on their tail that hurts quite well, so much so usually that your surf outting will be cancelled.


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