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'Holy Mola Mola!' Paddle Boarder Encounters Giant Sunfish Off Laguna Beach

LAGUNA BEACH (CBSLA) — A paddle boarder had an awe-inspiring experiencing this weekend with a giant sunfish near Laguna Beach.

Rich German says he was paddle boarding with a friend just a few hundred yards from the Laguna Beach shore on Saturday when the sunfish, also known as a mola mola, swam up to him. He says he's seen about a dozen in his many years out on the water, but this was definitely the biggest he's ever seen in the waters off Southern California.

"I wasn't scared because I knew what it was," he said. "It looks like a mutilated alien shark that got bit in half."

German says his paddle board is 14 feet long, so he estimates the sunfish was at least 9 feet long, possibly more.

"He just kind of lay there. It's a bizarre animal, they're just completely docile," German said.

He says he and his friend hung out with the massive mola mola for about a half hour before it apparently got bored of them, and sunk deeper into the water and out of view.

Biologists think the biggest sunfish ever recorded was 8 feet, 11 inches long. They are generally native to tropical and temperate waters, and can weigh between 545 and 4,409 pounds.

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