Animals Video

By Josh Saunders

A playful pod of dolphins have been caught on camera as they swim and ride the waves with a surfer less than a metre away.

Lucky Russ Jenkins, 41, from Devon was amazed when more than 20 Commerson’s dolphins joined him in the water, weaving in and out of the breaking waves.

He was at Bertha beach, in Stanley, Falkland Islands when he caught the pod who he believes enjoyed the surf as much as he did.

In the footage, they swim alongside Russ, a father-of-one, while he was paddling out to the breaking point and then crisscrossed while riding the waves in alongside him.

Russ says he was ‘privileged’ to have such an experience, which was very different from surfing among larger crowds back in the UK.

Russ, a technical search and rescue helicopter crewman, said: “We haven’t seen the dolphins for a while as the waters around our normal surfing beach have been turbulent, with big swell and pumping waves.

“I think this day the dolphins, who seem to enjoy surfing as much as we do, were happy to see me in the water again.

“It’s as though they enjoy sharing the wave as they criss-cross your path on the paddle out and join you inside the wave you’re riding.

“On one memorable ride, I dropped in and looked along the wave to see at least eight surfing just ahead of me.

“It’s hard to stop smiling when you surf with them, it’s such a real privilege to be in the water with these wild animals that choose to spend time with you.

“This day broke our dolphin record as there were so many I lost count, I’m guessing 20 or more and as they were swimming so close it was as though they were welcoming me back into the surf.

“It’s also a real privilege to surf on your own as most beaches in my home spots of North Devon are packed with humans not dolphins on a good surf day.”

Commerson Dolphins, which in the Falkland Islands are locally known as the Puffing Pig, dwell inshore around coastal areas.

They are one of 25 different marine mammal species in the Falkland Islands, including Orcas, Sei and Minke whales.

Russ who shot the footage last month says initially he was cautious about approaching the dolphins but later realised they were harmless.

He added: “The initial sight of fins flying towards you always triggers an innate survival instinct.

“But as soon as you realise the dolphins are back it’s all whooping and hollering as they also seem to be attracted to sound above and below the water.”