August 05, 2015 03:55 PM

When you’re surfing, you’re expect to catch waves. But catching a fawn floating on the water? That’s next level water sport.

When surfer Tyler Balak was surfing with friends off Hatteras Island, North Carolina, in July, he noticed something strange floating in the water a few hundred feet off shore, the Virginia Pilot reports.

He paddled closer and thought it was a dog – a few feet more would reveal something much more unusual.

“I yelled, ‘Oh my God, it’s a deer!’ ” said Balak, when he got within 30 feet. The fawn was struggling to stay afloat and when Balak finally reached it, he said its entire body went limp in his arms (insert gif of tears of joy here).

When he got back to the sand, his friend wrapped the baby in a towel and someone called the National Park Service. “It was shaking. It was clearly in shock,” Balak told the Pilot.

When no one responded to the call, they took the animal to the nearby Hatteras Island Wildlife Rehabilitation, where the president of the nonprofit put the fawn in a padded room. “It was coming out of its ocean shock at that point and ready to go ballistic,” Lou Browning said.

Browning said the fawn was healthy, with no apparent injuries, so he sedated it and released it back into a wooded area about 200 yards from where it was found.

The question everyone is trying to answer is: how did it get there? It looks like no one will ever know.

Balak surmises that it got separated from its mother and was spooked into running toward the ocean, where it got swept away.

The fawn is lucky that Balak’s curiosity prompted him to get a closer look. “So glad we could give this little guy another chance,” he wrote in a Facebook post, “Thanks to all who were there to help.”

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