Il Piantissimo's Surf Swim
From the Super Mario Wiki, the Mario encyclopedia
Il Piantissimo is waiting on a platform above, at the end of the rope from the level's start. Once spoken to, Il Piantissimo will show the flag's location to the player, which is on the coast at the opposite end of the bay. Once the race starts, Il Piantissimo will take off for the flag and the player needs to beat him to it. Il Piantissimo will swim through the water, though the player can use the Hover Nozzle to swim faster. If the player beats Il Piantissimo to the flag, they will earn a Shine Sprite. Otherwise, Mario will lose a life.
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