A video of a wake-boarder 'wake surfing' with a pair of playful bottlenose dolphin near St. Pete Beach, Florida, has created a flurry of excitement on the Internet after the dolphins were filmed joining in the fun behind the speeding boat.
The footage was recently videotaped by Keith Overton of his son Mitchell riding a wake-board behind a 53-foot Carver Voyager in the Gulf of Mexico.
Overton was able to capture the dolphins' acrobatics as they chased after the water enthusiast as he rode the wake behind the boat. The wake moves and responds to the board like a wave in the ocean, allowing the rider to keep pace with the moving boat without being tethered to the watercraft.
The YouTube clip highlights Mitchell's wake surfing abilities as the dolphins race beside the young man, occasionally jumping out of the water to display their own aquatic skills.
Bottlenose dolphin are a common sight in the Gulf of Mexico with a population of 35,000 to 40,000 estimated from aerial surveys of the waters. They can be found in groups of a hundred or more but are most often seen in smaller units of less then fifteen. Dolphins are protected from hunting but are affected by other environmental conditions created by man including petroleum development, boating, fishing, pollution and oil spills.