San Diego beaches

‘Pure Bliss': Beaches Reopen in Time to Ride Bioluminescent Waves

A surfer said it was "one of the coolest surf sessions I’ve ever had in my life."

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As if the ocean were excited to see surfers again after weeks of closures to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, beachgoers were dazzled with bright lights wherever they went.

Bioluminescence has transformed San Diego’s waters into an electric-blue light show for weeks, and many surfers have been eager to hit the waves before the phenomenon disappears again.

Jared Henry was among those surfers, and he said it was an experience he’ll never forget.

"I had been hearing about the glow in the waves prior to when we went out that night. We were really stoked to surf it because a friend of ours had gone out the night before and bragged about how cool it was," Henry told NBC 7.

Henry went out to The Rock -- a surf spot in Oceanside – right before sunset to get the full experience on April 29. And after seeing a golden sunset, Henry looked down to see a whole new world.

"Every paddle you take in the water illuminated your arms and the edges of your board as you glide through," he told NBC 7.

"This was the first time I’ve done this, so the experience truly was surreal," Henry said. "One of the coolest surf sessions I’ve ever had in my life."

He recorded the whole thing with his GoPro camera.

"Talk about a treat -- after the beaches being closed for so long and then getting to surf in those conditions. Pure bliss! It is a memory I will hold with me the rest of my life," he added.

Henry was born in San Diego but moved around a lot as a kid, eventually returning to America’s Finest City as an adult. He learned to surf at a young age – but when he lived in Arkansas, he didn’t have a lot of opportunities to practice – so when he came back to San Diego, he didn’t take the beautiful coastlines for granted.

Bioluminescence created a brilliant, neon blue glow in Encinitas.

What is bioluminescence?
The bright blue light, created by phytoplankton through a process called bioluminescence, can only be spotted from the shoreline on rare occasions and is not yet entirely understood by scientists, according to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

It's hard to predict when the phenomenon will occur, but there have been reports of bioluminescence along Southern California beaches for several weeks.

One lucky boater in Newport Beach spotted streaks of bioluminescence created by dolphins zipping through the ocean waters, which appeared to make the marine mammals glow in an electric blue shade.

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