You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but nobody ever said that about baby seal pups.
At least not these baby seal pups, which were captured on camera in Washington’s Puget Sound learning a very new trick, surfing.
The harbor seal pups, all between the ages of 6 weeks and 3 months, and each newly weaned from their mothers, were caught enjoying a day on the windsurf board owned by Ethan Janson, a 41-year-old Seattle native who lives just off Puget Sound.
The sports-photographer-turned-dentist noticed that the seals, which inhabit the waters in the warmer months, loved to sun on his neighbors’ boats but, come fall, when the boats began to depart for the winter, the seals had no place to go.
“I tied my surfboard to a marine buoy and it became quite a success and a hit for the seal pups out there,” Janson said.
Being a photographer, Janson had another idea for capturing the seals in action: He could mount a waterproof GoPro camera to the surfboard. He left the camera there for a month, in October 2011, and hit “record” before dawn nearly every day so that when the seals came out with the sun the camera would, he said, ”pick up whatever they would be doing that day.”
The result is a priceless video that has taken the Internet by storm ever since Janson posted it to YouTube last week after he finally found the time to compile the clips. The nearly four-minute video, cut down from one single 30-minute time span of footage, shows two seals lounging on the board while others struggle to join them, slipping and sliding in the process.
“I think people really relate to the cuteness of it but also just the thrill and the feeling of triumph from watching it,” he said. “People are thrilled by watching the seal succeed in the end.
“That feeling of triumph is what relates people to it,” said Janson, who plans to put his surfboard out again for the seals next fall.