WATCH: Paddleboarders Spot Massive Sunfish Beneath Them

by Madison Miller

Imagine you’re out paddleboarding, toes dipping into the cool water when a massive shadow slowly appears under the surface of the water. A moment of terror always ensues, just in case you have an aggressive shark under your board.

In this instance, for two paddleboarders in Southern California, there was a huge sunfish, called the mola mola, underneath them.

Paddleboarders Spot Massive Sunfish

The sea creature is harmless, although it looks eerily like something put together in Frankenstein’s underwater laboratory. The good news is, far worse things could have peaked from below the surface of the water.

Rich German and Matt Wheaton were a couple of yards from Laguna Beach when they spotted the sunfish below them. “We were just paddling and all of a sudden we were like ‘Oh my God.’ That thing was massive. Most of my encounters are with dolphins and whales, but you never know what you’re going to see,” German said to the Orange County Register.

Luckily, there was an absolutely epic photo and video that the pair took that can now serve as proof of the incident. German took a photo of Wheaton kneeling on his blue 14-foot paddleboard. The California coast is in the background, but it’s the foreground that stands out the most. The sunfish stretches from the very bottom of the picture to right before where Wheaton is floating. The perspective does wonders to show the creature’s size.

For reference, the mola mola is the heaviest of all the bony fish. It can be 14 feet vertically and then 10 feet horizontally and can also weigh about 5,000 pounds. They are currently listed as a vulnerable species because they often get stuck in drift gill nets.

It’s no secret the sunfish came close to the paddleboarders. Although they are harmless, they do get a little curious and will swim up to humans.

“I just know it was really big. It was a unique and very cool thing to experience, and another example of why we need to protect the ocean and the amazing life that calls it home,” German also said.

Creature Washes onto Shore

While the sunfish is harmless, although a bit alarming in size and features, another more fear-inducing creature washed ashore on a Southern California beach last week.

The creature was alive when it appeared on the sand, mouth wide open showing off a display of sharp fans that were almost snake-like. Davey’s Locker Sportfishing and Whale Watching was able to spot the creature and post a video of it in order to share the sighting with others.

So, what kind of fish is it? This is known as the lancetfish, which usually calls the Ocean Twilight Zone its home. This is a layer of the ocean that is just beyond the reach of any sunlight. It’s unclear how it ended up on the shore, but it did arrive after a weird sonic boom shook the area.

It was pulled safely back into the water.