‘It was like a scary movie’: Otter climbs onto surfboard, has standoff with surfer

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 3:21 PM CDT
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(CNN) – A surfer off the coast of California was confronted by an otter while he was out catching some waves.

Nick Ericksen is usually the one riding his surfboard, but when he left it empty for a moment after catching a wave off Santa Cruz, a sea otter figured it “otter be” the one riding it.

“It climbed on and made itself at home,” Ericksen said.

In a video that caught the encounter, Ericksen’s friends said they couldn’t believe it.

Ericksen’s tactics to recover his board ranged from the puny, like trying to splash the sea otter, to the brave, like attempting to tow it toward the shore.

However, the sea otter, possibly pregnant, would lunge at him whenever he touched the board.

Ericksen said he was a little afraid of the animal.

“It’s like a pit bull puppy, in a sense,” he said. “It looks cute but knows how dangerous it can be.”

Ericksen’s friend, Chad Underhill-Meras, shot the video. He said Ericksen should have just swam back in, but Ericksen said he didn’t want to leave his board.

Ericksen said he was also teased for why the otter was so riled up at him, with claims of him being the otter’s baby daddy tossed around.

“Yeah, that’s my friends being friends, I guess,” he said.

Another surfer finally came to the rescue, managing to shove the board away from the otter.

The otter then chased the rescuer before changing its mind and taking off after Ericksen.

“I kept looking over my shoulder. It was like a scary movie,” Ericksen said.

The board took some damage from the otter, but Ericksen was fortunately unscathed.

Ericksen said he might keep the board unrepaired as a memento of the standoff.

“Yeah, it took out a couple of chunks,” he said. “It did that too, with its teeth.”

Ericksen said he’s always had a fixation with sea otters and may now even get a sea otter tattoo he had once considered.