Sunfish checks out paddleboarders in Laguna Beach

Holy mola mola! Massive sunfish checks out paddleboarders near southern California beach

  • Rich German and his friend Matthew Wheaton were paddleboarding together
  • The pair were off the coast of Laguna Beach in California on December 2 
  • They believe the sunfish was around 9ft in length although they can’t be sure
  • Experts said it was one of the largest sunfish ever in Southern California  

A paddleboarder filmed a giant sunfish which floated towards him off the coast of Laguna Beach in California. 

Rich German and his friend Mathew Wheaton were on their boards when the giant sunfish approached. 

During the short video, German says to Wheaton: ‘That might be the biggest sunfish that I’ve ever seen. It’s as big as your board.’ 

German later posted the footage to his Instagram page which shows his friend kneeling down on his board to get a closer look at the fish.  

Rich German and his friend Mathew Wheaton were paddleboarding off the coast of Laguna Beach in southern California when they saw the giant sunfish 

The sunfish, pictured, have a maximum speed of two miles per hour and can travel 16 hours a day

The pair believe the giant fish could be a world beater, although experts said they would have to weigh it to judge its actual size 

German believes the fish was up to about nine feet in size. 

He wrote: ‘Mathew Weaton and I stumbled upon this massive sunfish only a couple hundred yards or so offshore yesterday. 

‘According to the internet the largest one on record is 8’11”. 

‘We didn’t have a measuring tape but Matt’s board is 14 foot long and the fish sure looked a solid 9 ft-plus. 

‘Always fun to witness one of these interesting creatures. Holy mola mola!’

German, who is an author and conservationist told the Orange County Register: ‘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.’

The giant fish floated slowly towards the pair who were paddleboarding on December 2

German said: ‘Most of my encounters are with dolphins and whales, but you never know what you’re going to see’

Julianne Steers of the Beach Ecology Coalition said the fish spotted by German and Wharton was larger than the normal size fish seen off the coast of Laguna Beach. 

She said: ‘The only true way to know is if it was out and weighed and officially measured.’ 

Initially it was thought that sunfish floated on ocean currents, but now researchers believe they can travel two miles per hour swimming up to 16 miles per day. 

Researchers believe that a sunfish is capable of travelling up to 16 miles in a day

The pair estimate the fish was approximately nine foot in length by comparing it to the size of their boards 

The scientific name for the sunfish is a mola mola. They are omnivorves and can live up to ten years and can weigh up to two-and-a-half tonnes. 

Sunfish are the heaviest of all bony fish and can get infested by parasites. 

The sunfish are harmless to humans but are incredibly vulnerable. They are known to die after eating plastic bags which they confuse with jellyfish. 

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