First rule of open-ocean paddleboarding: wildlife has right of way. Stand-up paddleboarder, Andrew Hill, was enjoying the surf off the coast of Gracetown in Western Australia recently when a dolphin unexpectedly launched itself out of the waves and body-slammed Hill sending the hapless surfer flying from his board in truly magnificent fashion. Fellow surfer, Lucas Englert managed to capture the hit in all its glory (queue up some Ludacris in the background for added effect):

Hill – an experienced paddleboarder – has encountered dolphins surfing the waves on many occasions in the past, but this is the first time he's made contact with one. “Eight or nine of them decided to catch that wave and surf straight at me, which has happened lots of times in the past to me and generally they just take off to one side left or right,” Hill told Perth Now. This one, however, was not to be moved. [H]ats off to him, he collected me really well," Hill added. “It's good to see dolphins. Surfers like seeing dolphins, but obviously I'd prefer them to stay a little bit further away than they did yesterday.”

Aside from having the wind knocked out of him, Hill escaped the dolphin shunt without any injuries and suspects that the surfing cetacean was actually trying to herd fish when it (seemingly) inadvertently body checked him. Dolphins have been known to exhibit an array of specialised foraging tactics. Florida's pods have been recorded showing off some impressive cooperative hunting: a single dolphin will "herd" a school of fish straight towards the rest of the group who readily snatch them as the fish try to leap away from their pursuer. Down Under, some Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins around Shark Bay have been known to wear sea sponges on their noses – a behaviour that may help protect them while they forage in sharp crevices.

Of course, it's possible that these dolphins were surfing simply for fun and, given their proven intelligence, this one may have known exactly what it was doing. After all, dolphins can be jerks.

Top header image: J. Maughn, Flickr