A paddleboarder experienced a surprise encounter Monday when a humpback whale came out of nowhere, surfaced in front of him and collided with his board in a startling moment off the east coast of Australia.
Alexander Ehlers, a German tourist visiting Australia, was a lone paddleboarder off Crescent Head Back Beach when a pod of dolphins caught his attention. He followed them for a while before spotting some whales in the distance.
First, he excitedly paddled toward them but stopped when he noticed them coming his way. “Oh wow,” he says in his the video. The real action begins at the 1:00 mark, when you see one whale approach and swim directly beneath his board.
“It was pretty surprising,” he told 9 News of Australia. “They came up to me and just dived underneath my board.”
It appeared the whales had moved on, but that apparently wasn’t the case since about 35 seconds later one of them popped up in front of him.
“I didn’t even see it,” Ehlers told 9 News. “I was just laying on the board and it just came out of the water. And it was just a small bump, nothing major. It seemed to me like it was saying hello.”
The whales hung around him for a couple of minutes before resuming their migration north.
“They were just trying to check out what I was I think,” he told 9 News.
Photo is a screen grab from the video.