These Sea Lions Ride Waves Better Than Most Surfers

Written by Opal
Published: October 3, 2022
© Daniel Avram/
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Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

Early in January, Southern California had its typical winter swell, sending surfers in the area into a frenzy. And some of its local seals were also featured in that. Some fortunate documentary filmmakers were able to record a pod of seals completely smashing through the surf in Santa Barbara during the swell. 

As they leap, plunge, and ride down the face of many massive waves, the seals in the video appear to be enjoying the time of their lives. Sea lions congregate on land in protected locations close to the water. They might group together in a tiny mass on the water’s surface, resembling a raft. 

Young and not reproducing The playful otariids are probably the California sea lions. They frequently engage in territorial conflicts, pursue one another, push one another off rocks, and surf together. Adults are less likely to engage in these activities.

Unbeknownst to you, these sea mammals are excellent body surfers. It’s common for sea lions to develop a body surfing passion. The pinnipeds are well recognized for their fierce surfing abilities.

A compilation video shows just how incredible these sea creatures are! Not only do they look like they’re having the time of their lives, but the way they glide across the water is also effortless. Sea lions can swim at up to 25 mph in bursts, but they typically cruise at about 11 miles per hour. 

Porpoising, or gliding over the water’s surface to reduce resistance, is how sea lions increase their speed. Sea lions appear to enjoy surfing in front of enormous whales or waves. Due to the distinctive manner they swim, sea lions are frequently referred to as the “Angels of the Sea.” Sea lions utilize their front flippers for swimming and their rear flippers for steering. 

Nature’s Natural Surfers

The average weight and length of female sea lions are between 200 and 400 pounds and 5 and 6.5 feet, respectively. Puppies are 2.5 feet long and only weigh about 13 pounds when they are born. Males often weigh 600 to 800 pounds and measure 6.5 to 8 feet in length. Adult male sea lions have been known to weigh as much as 1,000 pounds!

A person who spotted these huge creatures surfing the waves had this to say, “Our trip to Santa Barbara Island was bumpy and dive conditions questionable. 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!”

It’s incredible that animals that weigh hundreds of pounds can appear weightless and they flip and splash throughout the water. We love seeing these sea lions enjoying every moment in the warm ocean water. Check out the video for yourself, below! 

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© Daniel Avram/

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About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

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