Santa Cruz’s Surfing Otter

Otter 841: Stealing Surfboards & Hearts

Otter 841 of Santa Cruz has recently become famous for her surfboard stealing antics. There have actually been a small group of otters that have laid claim to surfboards in the Santa Cruz waters, but Otter 841 is quickly becoming a beloved antihero/mascot for those who love the oceans and its denizens.

Otter 841 was born in captivity at UC Santa Cruz, and then released into the wild in 2020 once it was determined that she was old enough to feed and care for herself. Her mother, incidentally, was also known for surfboard theft and riding.

As of this writing, Otter 841 has evaded fish and wildlife officials, who are seeking to capture her and then "re-home" her to a different location. And this has caused a bit of a controversy in the Santa Cruz community: some believe that she needs to be captured and re-homed for her safety and the safety of the surfers in Cowell's Beach. Others believe that Otter 841 should be left alone to be free and live her best life.

For more about otters and surfing, check out our book selections:

You Otter Check Out These Books!

Sea Otters, book cover
Sea Otters, book cover
Sea Otters, book cover
Sea Otters, book cover
 The Secret Life of the Sea Otter, book cover

Hang Ten with These Surfing Reads!

Surfing, book cover
Surfing, book cover
Shooting the Curl, book cover
The Complete Guide to Surfing, book cover
Surfing in Santa Cruz, book cover
Mindfulness and Surfing, book cover

Why Otters Are Getting Bolder

One of the reasons that these otters are becoming more bold in their behavior is the depletion of the kelp beds due to climate change. Those of us who live in coastal regions need to be aware of our actions and how it affects the oceans and marine life. To learn more, check out the following resources:

Under the Sea

The Imperiled Ocean, book cover
The Oceans and Climate, book cover
The Dance of Air and Sea, book cover
The Coasts of California, book cover
Oceans 2020, book cover
A Journey Under the Sea, book cover

Explore More with Discover & Go

Want to learn more about otters, the ocean, and marine life? Our Discover & Go program has passes for free or reduced-price tickets to CuriOdyssey, the Marine Mammal Center, the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, and Cal Academy of Sciences!

My Final Thoughts

  1. Otter 841 needs a way cooler name than "Otter 841".
  2. I'm in favor of giving these Otters some surfboards of their own.
  3. Surfers need to be aware that their playground is actually home to a vast variety of animal life.
  4. We all need to be a bit more mindful of how our actions affects local waters, land, and wildlife.
  5. I am definitely #TeamOtter in all this. Hang Ten Li'l Otter 841!

My Favorite Fan Theory

Otter 841 is the reincarnation of an OG surfer who wants the current crop of surfers to use custom made wood surfboards instead of the modern, mass-produced surfboards.