For surfers, there’s nothing worse than spotting a large gray figure swimming underneath you. In that brief moment where the brain tries to process the information, the body can go into shock, which is downright debilitating.
Rookie pro Kolohe Andino had a tough second-round match at the Hurley Pro, and then he had the real locals he had to contend with. Both Andino and fans watching got a good scare when this surfing fan got a little too close.
Pro surfer Kolohe Andino’s moment of panic came smack dab in the middle of his Round Two heat Tuesday at the Hurley Pro, as he spotted something underneath him just as he was taking off on a wave at Lower Trestles.
With thousands of people watching, Andino wasn’t the only one who spotted it. Fans on the beach and judges in the scoring tower saw even more of the big gray lurker than Andino did, and debate as to what it was was rampant.
“Was that a dolphin? Or a shark?”
Those pushing the shark argument noted that the dorsal fin looked a little too straight to be a dolphin, and that it was swimming alone, which is way more typical of a shark. Meanwhile, those arguing dolphin pointed to the whole pod of them frolicking in the surf at a neighboring break in the San Onofre State Park earlier that morning. They also pointed to the tail that looked more horizontal, a sure sign of a dolphin.
Indeed, dolphins are the true local surfers at Trestles. They’ve been riding waves off the cobblestone point there for many millennia. On the flip side, white sharks are also regular visitors to the San Onofre stretch of coast. In fact, stand up paddlers that frequent nearby breaks have even started naming the regulars, including their favorite “Fluffy,” who they insist is a frequent visitor.
Fortunately, Andino was able to complete his ride unscathed. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it out of his heat. He also never got a definitive answer as to what it was swimming beneath him while on the beach.
If it’s any consolation, those same paddlers claim it didn’t look like Fluffy, and when we sent the photograph above to American Cetacean Society researcher Alisa Schulman-Janiger, she was quite certain it’s a bottlenose dolphin based on what she believes is a single falcate dorsal fin.
More on GrindTV
VIDEO – Rookies lift acrobatic surfing to new heights at Hurley Pro
NEWS – Fisherman adrift for 106 days says shark helped him
PHOTOS – Stunning time-lapse photography of Yosemite’s night sky show