Northern suburbs surfer Carl Casey paddles out for a morning wave with mates at McCauleys Beach most weekends, but last Saturday the group was interrupted by a wave rider of a different kind.
An amazing video posted online shows the group joined by a lone female dolphin which spent three hours playfully zipping under and around the men in the flat surf.
Quite happy to pose for photos and have its belly rubbed, the dolphin squeaked contentedly as the surfers relished a once-in-a-lifetime brush with nature.
“We went for our morning surf and one of the boys was in the water saying it was swimming around him, so I grabbed my camera,” Mr Casey said.
“It was so friendly, letting us pat her, and pulling our board leg ropes. I swam with it until my camera battery went flat, and she was still there when we left.”
Marine campaigner Daisy Barham, of the NSW Nature Conservation Council, said dolphins were some of the most social animals in the ocean but it was very rare for one to interact so closely with humans.
“It’s extraordinary, but seeing a dolphin alone like that means it might have been separated from its pod,” Ms Barham said.
She said the surfers in the video posed no danger to the dolphin, but reminded people to be careful of dolphins and other sea creatures.
“They might seem tame, but we have to remember they are wild animals,” Ms Barham said.
“While it is incredibly special, it is important to keep a safe distance, otherwise we might change the animal’s behaviour.”