An incredible video of a surfing seal off the coast of Amble has sparked world-wide interest, with more than two million online views and even catching the attention of pop megastar Lady Gaga.
Surfers Matty Stanley, from Amble, and Andrew Flounders, of Morpeth, could not believe their eyes when the creature mounted their boards several times while they were in the water on Sunday.
The amazing footage from an onboard camera shows the apprentice surfer making numerous attempts to balance on the board, but slips off into the sea.
But the plucky animal doesn’t give up that easily and eventually manages to hone its surfing skills.
The seal then sits pretty on both boards, almost posing for the camera.
In the video, which was collated by Matty, the creature is also seen riding a wave itself and swimming into knee-deep water.
Matty, 23, and Andrew, 48, admit that they were shocked by the seal’s antics.
But they are even more staggered at the interest that the heartwarming video has caused across the globe since Matty uploaded it onto his Facebook page on Sunday.
Poker Face singer Lady Gaga shared the video on Twitter, along with the words: “This is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! That seal is so stoked!”
Her message, posted on Tuesday, has been retweeted nearly 3,000 times and favourited by more than 4,000 people.
On top of that, the story has been picked up by media around the world, as well as surfing websites such as Carve and Surfer Magazine.
Andrew said: “It has gone absolutely crazy. People talk about having their 15 minutes of fame, but this may well be our week of fame.
“The other day I had a Skype interview for the Weather Channel with Sam Champion. But whatever happens, it was just an amazing experience. For a seal to be that friendly and come that close to us, I don’t think that will ever happen again.”
Matty is equally overwhelmed at the attention the video has received.
“It’s unbelievable,” he told the Gazette. “I can’t believe how fast it has spread worldwide. But it was such a unique experience.”
It was certainly that. Reliving those amazing scenes, Andrew said: “We had just been joking about the lack of seals in the sea and perhaps there might be a shark around as the water was very warm. Then I felt a thud against my leg.
“I jumped onto the board and Matty said the colour drained from my face.
“But the seal just leapt on board and was really, really friendly and kept following us, even out of the sea when we left.”
Matty said that they have not given the seal a name.