WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A giant sunfish suddenly appeared beside two paddle boarders near Laguna Beach.
- Rich German spotted the sunfish, also known as Mola mola.
- The sunfish may just be the biggest sunfish ever spotted.
Rich German and Matt Wheaton were paddleboarding on Dec.2 when German spotted a giant sunfish in the ocean near Laguna Beach, California.
A delighted German said, “OK, that might be the biggest sunfish I’ve ever seen. It’s as big as your board.”
German, 52, is an ocean enthusiast and environmental activist who founded the nonprofit Project O and hosts the podcast, Our Epic Ocean. He aims to help preserve the ocean and the life within it.
Paddleboarding has led him to many encounters with sea life, such as dolphins, orcas, and gray whales. He has also encountered the planet’s largest animal, the blue whale, in its natural habitat.
German said that the sunfish, also called Mola mola, was an unexpected encounter.
He explained that the fish are usually found miles off the coastline, while German was only 200 yards from the coast when he encountered it. It was also quite huge compared to the average.
German said, “The fact it was so big makes it super unique. My hope for all of this exposure is more people will fall in love with the ocean and that will do more to protect the ocean.”
German was also surprised by the fact that the sunfish was hanging around in an area that was marked illegal to fish in, thereby being completely safe and protected.
After chilling with the paddleboarders for about 30 minutes, the sunfish gradually dropped down below the surface.
When the story went viral, German told NBC San Diego, “It’s cool that people love the ocean, they love the life that lives in the ocean, especially unique things like this.”
According to National Geographic, Mola mola are harmless to people but are known to be curious as they often approach divers. They can weigh up to 5,000 pounds and reach 14 feet vertically and 10 feet horizontally.
Mola mola look awkward because of a back fin that never grows. The fin folds onto itself creating a rounded rudder, which gives them a “bullet-like shape.”
Source: NBC News