Video shows manatee borrowing child’s surfboard at Florida beach

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — It was a close encounter of the marine kind in Florida, when a manatee decided to try out a child’s surfboard.

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Leesa Blais shared video of the interaction on Facebook, showing the playful encounter in the Fort Pierce Inlet. The video shows her son, Evan, on a surfboard, as a manatee swims beneath it. The manatee nudges the board, and eventually puts its flipper on top of it, effectively taking it from the child.

Help us share Evan’s unexpected manatee encounter. Surfing off Fort Pierce Inlet July 4, 2022

Posted by Leesa Blais on Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Blais told WPEC that Evan initially thought it was a shark and was frightened, but the manatee appeared to want to play.

There were actually two manatees swimming together, and the pair swam around Blais’ twin sons and husband for about 10 minutes, she told WPTV.

“It was pretty cool for our boys to experience,” Blais told WPEC.

Blais told WPEC the interaction made for a once-in-a-lifetime birthday gift for the twins, who turned 11 years old the next day.