One really cool thing about surfing in california is the amount of natural life in evidence all around you. Perhaps thats more true of the slightly less urban beaches but there are seals and dolphins swimming through the line up, kelp fronds grabbing your fin and smoothing out chop, lizards scurrying past you feet as you walk down the beach paths and of course the pelicans.
There's something really pleasing about watching a group of pelicans glide past, in formation like WW2 bombers on a mission. The way they glide with wingtips mere millimetres above the water surface, never touching, harnessing the updrafts along a walling wave before climbing high, folding their wings and dropping like an arrow into the water to bob up seconds later, nonchalent and still.
They make our honking seagulls seem yobbish and louche and i never once spotted one attacking a beachgoer for his sandwich!