Surfing dolphins

Surfing dolphins image is a video screen grab

Lots of people have watched dolphins riding waves, but in comparison, very few have seen the mammals surfing from the vantage point of a small drone.

Researcher Dave Riggs captured the unique and surreal footage recently while spying for sharks above the breakers at Esperance, in Western Australia.

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"I'm basically using a Phantom drone to look for white sharks off the southern WA coastline," Riggs explained via email. "I came across the pod of bottlenose dolphins just west of Esperance … there were well over 100 in the group."

The footage reveals an interesting look at the dynamics at play when dolphins decide a surf session is in order.

As viewers can see, the mammals wait for waves in a manner similar to surfers, by simply milling about in the lineup.

Surfing dolphins

Surfing dolphin kicks out of a wave and returns to the lineup for more; video screen grab

When a swell builds, they make their moves, and like many surfers, they like to bust an aerial from time to time, abruptly turning and launching from the backs of the waves.

Riggs, a filmmaker, posted the footage Sunday on his Facebook shares, and by Tuesday it had been shared more than 2,400 times.

"Wow, what an amazing angle," one of the comments reads.

"This is just brilliant," reads another.

The footage is sure to remind people of experiences they’ve had while watching dolphins from shore or from a surfboard.


One that stands out is the incredible image captured last September by Matt Hutton, showing a dolphin leaping from the face of a large wave directly in front of a mesmerized surfer.

For the sake of comparing perspectives, and because it’s worth another look, that amazing shot is posted above.

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