On a standard beautiful San Diego day the Isle team decided to head to out and snap some photos of the surfboard models from the angle of a local fishing pier. We started just north of the pier with two surfers in the water and the photographer on the pier.
About halfway through the shoot the photographer noticed a California brown Pelican on the pier dangerously close to getting tangled in the fishermen’s lines. Sure enough a child not knowing any better chased after the pelican causing it to fly directly into multiple fishing lines tangling it’s wings, feet , and neck rendering it flightless. This caused quite a stir on the pier. The fishermen quickly cut their attached lines at least freeing the tangled hanging pelican to the water. Once on the water the pelican proved it was still to tangled to spread it’s wings and fly and slowly drifting into the building surf zone. One of the fishermen even jumped off the pier to help but couldnt reach the bird swimming with no board in the surf and motioned to the surfers in the water to paddle south of the pier to see if they could help free the large tangled sea bird.
As they approached the boys noticed this was going to be no easy task as the bird was completely tangled including barbed hooks that had sunk into the birds wings. Knowing the danger of cuts from the hooks and the birds large sharp beak the boys went to work anyway. At first the bird resisted and even snapped at the boys causing them to have to hold the beak closed while they continue to try to bite, break, cut with fins, or snap the strong ocean test lines. After a few minutes of this the bird relaxed and even tried to help by holding it’s tangled wing out.
At one point it almost seamed hopeless as the boys had to take a break to tend to their cut hands. At that point when they released the pelican rather then swimming away it turned around and swam back to the Boys as if to say “don’t give up I am almost free”.
So they went back to it and with bloody hands were able to bite through one of the last lines to free up the birds wings for flight. The pelican then first did some test flaps to make sure it was completely untangled, then a quick swim by as if to say thanks. As the bird took flight cheers came from the onlookers on the pier. Other than some minor cuts the boys were ok and paddled off into some more beautiful waves. Just another day at the office!
About the Author - Marc Miller is the founding partner of Isle Surf & SUP an online retailer of paddle boards & surfboards. He has been involved in board manufacturing, product development and website management for Isle since its inception in 2004. He also writes the Isle Surf & SUP Blog. An avid surfer and paddler for the past 2 decades when hes not in the office he can be found on foreign shores searching for waves and fun.