Dolphins still the world’s most talented surfers


After three solid days of rain, the river runoff had turned the usually emerald-green water of Torrey Pines Beach the color of chocolate. Needless to say, not a single surfer was out this day, but the dolphins were. Though it is not uncommon to see dolphins playing in the waves, on this day, with no surfers out, there appeared to be a higher concentration of them in full force. Wave after wave, the dolphins would take turns surfing, sometimes alone, sometimes in groups.

Watching from the shore, a lone surfer sat trance-like watching the dolphins’ magical and hypnotic show. Compelled by the moment, the surfer decided to join them.

Consistent 6-to 8-foot top-to-bottom closed-out waves pounded the shore. Dolphins were swimming everywhere. Not wanting to disturb the dolphins, the surfer paddled slightly further down the beach. Now the surfer was close enough to enjoy the show, but far enough away as to not interrupt the performance, or so he thought.

A splendid wave was coming directly toward the surfer, perhaps the largest wave of the day. “Mine,” thought the surfer, quickly forgetting about the dolphins, thinking instead about the oncoming wave and the treasured ride it offered. In perfect position, the surfer readied to turn and catch the wave. Suddenly, out of the dark of nowhere, the surfer was surrounded by three dolphins, the largest the surfer had ever seen.

Frozen in confusion, the surfer remained still as the largest dolphin of all came flying by, riding the wave of the day. The large and powerful dolphin left a wake of water turbulence that almost knocked the surfer off his surfboard. Watching in complete amazement as the large dolphin whizzed by, the surfer was even more shocked when the dolphin abruptly reversed direction.

Now positioned at the top of the wave crest, the surfer saw the huge dolphin coming directly at him. Before anything could happen, the wave passed leaving the surfer on its backside, preparing for a fatal collision.

The dolphin went full speed toward the surfer, but they did not collide. Just before reaching impact, the dolphin jumped high out of the water, directly over the surfer. The surfer watched the high and mighty dolphin fly directly overhead. The dolphin was majestic, the moment surreal. The surfer could see the water sheathing off the dolphin’s body and tail and as it did it formed a rainbow over his whole body. Time, like the dolphin flight, appeared frame-by-frame. The three dolphins surrounding the surfer dove deep simultaneously with the large dolphin’s perfect penetration back into the ocean. The large dolphins all disappeared, not to be seen again.

After collecting himself, the surfer decided he should catch the next wave in, perhaps the dolphins wanted the waves all for themselves, he could not be sure. Stroking into a wave, the surfer was surprised again as he stood to his feet. To his left, surfing with him, were three glorious dolphins jumping out of the wave, to his right four more. The dolphins were sharing the wave with the surfer. No words can describe the feeling, let alone the moment.

All surfers are guests of Mother Nature. All humans, no matter whether they are high and mighty or lowly and meek, are guests of Mother Nature. Let us treat one another with respect, dignity and love, because in truth, no man owns the ocean, no man owns the earth. We are all on borrowed time and nature’s guest. All of us must respect and give thanks.

E-mail surfing experts Michael and Milton Willis at