Just before painting this one I thought I’d paddle out in the midday doldrums for a few waves and as soon as I reached the outside lineup and sat up on my board I saw an odd looking dolphin just about 15 yards away. It wasn’t really moving, just sort basking in the sun.
I kept looking at it’s dorsal fin and thinking “wow, that’s a really triangular fin…” It finally dawned on me this might not be a dolphin. I never saw the second point of the tail, but when it’s snout emerged, it was all points and angles, like a stealth fighter jet, no rounded bottle-nose, not like flipper at all. Chills.
Ok. I think I’ll paddle in now, quickly, but not too quickly. Just nice and steady. The waves aren’t that good anyway. On my way in I notice a group of high school kids about 50 yards down the beach surfing the inside reforms. They’d paddled out the same time I did. I figured I wouldn’t live with myself if I paddled in and didn’t tell them and then something happened to them, so I made my way up the beach to let them know what I saw. They said it wasn’t a shark, they see dolphins all the time here. I told them I had surfed all over California my whole life and never seen a dolphin like that and quickly caught a wave to the beach. I had fulfilled my duty.
When I got back up to the top of the bluff, I looked back out and those kids had gone in too.
Kinda funny having surfed over 20 years in the notoriously sharky water of northen california, where more friends than I can count on one hand have been bitten by sharks up there, and I’d never seen one myself- then here in San Diego of all places I come face to snout with one. A swimmer had been fatally attacked just a week earlier up near the county line, so there was also that. They’re out there…