A kitesurfer in California captured the moment he collided with one of the largest animals on earth—a humpback whale. While gliding across the water off Crissy Field Beach, Andrei Grigoriev suddenly collided with the whale who was breaching the water.
The surfer’s board skimmed right over the mammal’s back which caused the shocked surfer to spread his arms in utter amazement.
Grigoriev, 36, who lives in the Bay Area, told Caters News he had never even seen a whale before that moment. He added that while the footage may appear shocking, he never intended any harm to the animal.
I was going straight out from the beach when something touched my board from below. For another 15 seconds, I had a feeling there was something around me until the whale jumped out of the water right in front of me. The scene was completely accidental.”
He also said that if the animal had been intimidated by his presence, he thought it would have hit him with its tail.
Luckily both the surfer and whale were unharmed in the incident, however, situations like these have caused concern for conservationists.
Whales are being more frequently spotted close to shore. In May several whales were spotted further up the Californian coastline, swimming underneath the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. According to locals, it’s the second year running that whales have ventured into the bay.
Many suspect the whales are chasing food like krill and anchovies. But because of the smaller space, whales can become injured in encounters with ships, tankers and even kite surfers. Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary’s Mary Jane Schramm said:
We have seen kiteboarders actually jump them as if they were obstacles, and we’ve seen windsurfers, unfortunately, go in, repeatedly getting closer and closer to the whales.
This puts the whales in danger and some have been scared in the collisions.
Grigoriev’s encounter was a surprising one, but it appears the whale already had an inkling he was there. Maybe the whale surfaced to say hello or give a little bump to tell Grigoriev whose turf it was.