By: Richard Dennis

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Have you ever been standing on the beach staring at nearly perfect 6-8’ waves with nobody in sight and gotten the feeling that you probably shouldn’t get in the water? No you say? Well perhaps there weren’t 4,000 lb. elephant seals strewn across the beach and a sea lion rookery within a quarter mile of the break (that’s all the hints your gonna get). Believe me; nothing gets you thinking about the man in the grey suit more than a proliferation of marine mammals on the beach and in the lineup. Sometimes you wonder, other times you’re sure.

Yes I paddled out….by myself. And it was fun, but not epic. So when I caught a long right to the inside and got brushed by something underwater that was much bigger than I am, I tucked tail and scurried back to terra firma like a cat thrown in a swimming pool.

I walked back to my gear to share my experience with my buddy and cleared my head with a couple of ice cold beers. Call it liquid courage or maybe even beer goggles, but before long the waves were looking near perfect and I was having a mental ping pong match as to whether to paddle back out or not. Yes I paddled. Liquid courage…you bet. Beer goggles….you be the judge.

Do you have any close encounters with sharks, elephant seals, or other sea animals?  Send us you’re stories for possible use on @