A group of dolphins were caught on camera riding the waves near Manly Beach in Sydney.
On May 10, photographer Jessica Blacklow posted pictures of the whales surfing on her Facebook page, Wiltliving, and called it a “manly lineup.”
Blacklow told Newsweek that he had never seen so many dolphins ride one wave at the same time. I guess today was my good day.
Blacklow lives in Newcastle, which is in New South Wales. At the time of the event, he was in Sydney. She said that the morning before I left, I was taking pictures on the beach. I saw dolphins moving as a wave was coming in. They normally jump out of the back of the wave, but I’m never fast enough to catch them.
Everything went by so quickly, and then they were gone.
Dolphins have been seen riding waves like this before. Researchers still don’t know for sure why they do it, though.
David Lusseau, a professor of marine sustainability at the National Institute of Aquatic Resources at the Technical University of Denmark, told Newsweek that not much work has been done to try to figure out why dolphins ride waves. We do know that dolphins can spend a lot of time with their friends and playing in many groups.
Play can involve a lot of different things, like interacting with macroalgae (kelp and similar things), other animals, or human items. For example, in a population where I used to work, people would pull on the fishing pot’s rope to sink the buoy, then let the buoy go once it was at the bottom and race it back to the top. They would also play with kelp, carrying it on their flipper or rostrum. Sometimes, dolphins would pass the kelp from one to another while others tried to catch it.
Even though dolphins spend a lot of time playing, there may be a more useful reason for this water sport. Lusseau said that dolphins are very good at using their environment to meet their goals, whether they are having fun or doing something important.
What might look like surfing in some cases might just be people using the waves to hunt, hide, or get away from something: to hunt by hiding behind the noise and pressure of the wave so they can get closer to their prey; to hide so they can chase or get close to other dolphins with whom they may be fighting (or playing!); or to avoid other dolphins or predators by hiding their noise and wave pressure.
On social media, Blacklow’s pictures have made people happy who follow her.
Wow. What a chance! One person said, “Real surfers.”
Someone else said, “These are great pictures.” What a great time to catch.”