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Rincon Classic Dolphin Video Has Left Teen Surfer an Overnight Star

By Jim Murray, KEYT NewsChannel 3 Reporter, jim.murray@keyt.com
Published On: Jan 21 2014 07:30:30 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 21 2014 08:56:54 PM CST

A young surfer has become a worldwide sensation after video of her surfing with dolphins was picked up by all the major networks.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

In 48 hours, video of a Santa Barbara teenager sharing a wave with a pod of dolphins has exploded internationally. It's aired on Good Morning America and World News Tonight, and it's been seen internationally from the United Kingdom to Pakistan.

The young surfer riding with the dolphins is 16 year-old teen sensation Abby Brown of Santa Barbara. She was competing in the Rincon Classic Surf Contest.

The event captured on video that left beach goers cheering and has helped give Brown overnight fame. But it was a ride that almost didn't happen for the 16 year old surfer.

"I was pretty sick that morning. I didn't even really want to surf that day, but I did. I didn't even see the dolphins," Brown said after the event.

After winning the 18 and Under competition on Saturday, she decided to compete in the Women's Final on Sunday, not knowing at the time the decision would change her life forever. Sharon Brown, Abby's mother said "We are blown away. It's been unbelievable. I know she is blown away, we never thought this would get this big."

Still images of Brown's dolphin encounter have blown up on social media, including photos taken by local photographer Oscar Flores. But the video that's being circulated internationally was shot by photojournalist Derek Olson, who said he was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. "Everything came together perfectly. If one thing hadn't worked out, we wouldn't have gotten the shots."

Brown is a highly accomplished junior surfer who's already won several surf contests, but the recent wave of media attention has multiple big surf companies knocking on her door about sponsorship opportunities.

A ride that almost didn't happen, that almost wasn't captured on video, that could change the life of a young teenager hoping to make a name for herself in the competitive world of surfing. A moment in time that no one will ever forget.

Sharon Brown: "It's just amazing."  

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